The word ‘boy’ suggests this was a young romance, perhaps Blanches first love, perhaps her only love and it would be hard not to sympathise with her because of it. As Williams gradually reveals her past, I find myself sympathising with her more and more. Earlier on in the scene, Williams creates doubt within the audiences mind whether or not Blanche has ever experienced love: ‘I guess that is what is meant by being in love… ‘. Williams, however, has written this so that the fact that Blanche had this immense relationship when she was younger which resulted in tragic circumstances comes as so much more of a shock to the audience.
Due to this greater impact, the audience find themselves sympathising with her a lot more. Williams establishes Blanche as a character who cannot ‘be alone’. She has ‘got to be with somebody’. Many people can relate to this, as loneliness can be an awful thing to live with and so sympathise with her in that way. Throughout the first five scenes, Williams uses music such as ‘the blue piano’ to great effect. Te music is heard when emotions run high, particularly in the case of Blanche. The music often represents her mood, rising with emotion therefore reflecting Blanches feelings.
The music adds to the drama of the scene making the audience feel sympathy for the characters. At the start of scene two, Williams adds another twist to the plot, Stella is pregnant. Blanche, however, does not know this. This fact makes you feel sympathy for Blanche because her own sister is keeping this fact from her: ‘Don’t mention the baby’. It raises questions in the audience about their relationship and makes you sympathise with Blanche because Stella is all she has left. It also makes you sympathise with Stella because she feels she cannot tell Blanche.
In act two, I find myself sympathising with Stella because of the way Stanley talks to her and the way he treats her. He appears quite domineering over her as though he believes Stella is his and nothing will change that. He appears almost patronizing in the way he speaks to her, ‘Let me enlighten you on a point or two, baby’. I sympathise with Stella and yet I am also angered by the fact that she allows herself to rely on him so much. She herself admitted in scene one that she ‘goes wild’ when he is away for more than one night.
She and Stanley share this passionate relationship fuelled by an immense physical attraction and it is though Stella is blind to anything else. Blanche does not feel a part of this and so I sympathise with her. She sees through Stanley, notes his animal-like behaviour, which Stella is blind to. This inevitably causes friction between Stanley and Blanche with Stella caught up in the middle. Scene three builds up to a dramatic conclusion which ends with Stella returning to Stanley regardless of the fact that he has assaulted her and Blanche is once again left on her own.
This builds sympathy for both sisters and yet the stage is set for the inevitable conflict between Blanche and Stanley. Williams depicts Stanley as a rather ‘brutish’ character, ‘compactly built’. He appears to the audience as a typical male, not well educated and from a peculiarly rough background. It is obvious then, that he and Blanche represent two different worlds. Inevitably, this will result in conflict. By the end of scene three, Blanche has gone against Stanley and he will retaliate and she is left searching for ‘sanctuary’.
Williams uses ‘drums’ as music to represent emotions. ‘Drums’ are also associated with war. Blanche suggests that Stanley has the star sign ‘Aries’. ‘Aries’ was also the god of war. Blanche also uses words such as ‘shot’, which is again associated with war. All this war imagery cleverly used by Williams suggests a dramatic climax of conflict, a conflict Blanche cannot win and so the audience are left sympathising deeply with her. She herself knows that there is imminent disaster ahead as she states that ‘the blind are – leading the blind!
Williams creates deep sympathy within the audience for Blanche due to this fact. All Blanche wants to do is ‘go there (the sky) on a rocket that never comes down’. To me this is a very sad yet poetic statement that really does make me feel sympathy for Blanche. She cannot ‘go there on a rocket’; she must stay and face the imminent disaster she predicts. This reinforces the idea of fate established in the title ‘A streetcar named desire’. Blanche is on this set destination leading to disaster and there is nothing she can do to stop it.
Williams does, therefore, create great feelings of sympathy for Blanche within the audience. Blanche ‘wants Mitch’ so that she can ‘breathe quietly again’. This again makes you feel sympathy for Blanche as Stella has a man in her life yet she does not and she is the oldest. This sympathy is, however, shattered by the fact that she risks losing Mitch by flirting with a ‘young man’ at the end of scene five. This could, however, be a sign of her insecurities once again. She needs to feel desired to boost her confidence with Mitch, though she goes about gaining this desire the wrong way.
Mitch is her rescue boat from Stanley and her life alone. You must feel sympathy for Blanche as her life is on a course of destruction and no matter how hard she tries, she always ends up worse off than before. Williams cleverly uses metaphors to make certain points, for example, in scene five he writes, ‘It foams over and spills. Blanche gives a piercing cry’. When he speaks of the drink foaming over I, personally, believe that he metaphorically is referring to the tension in the house. The tension is becoming too much for Blanche and she cannot control it.