Is Blanche Dubois a Tragic Hero?
At the beginning of the play, Blanche is already a looked down upon by society. Her families fortune and assets have been gone, her husband took his own life earlier that year, and she is a social pariah due to her indiscrete sexual behavior. She also has a bad drinking problem, which she covers up poorly. Behind her veneer of social snobbery and sexual propriety, Blanche is an insecure, dislocated individual. She is an aging Southern belle who lives in a state of constant anxiety about her fading beauty and ageing. She has a frail manner that continues to wane as the play continues, and she sports a wardrobe of showy but cheap evening clothes. Stanley quickly sees through Blanche’s act and seeks out information about her past.
Blanche fits the profile of an Aristotelian tragic hero
She gives the impression that she is of great stature, and presents a seemingly arrogant, superior manner. Particularly to Stanley at the start of the play.
Like all Aristotelian tragic heroes Blanche is flawed. She comes across as very controlling and manipulative. She presents a façade of innocence, but is in fact extremely promiscuous. She also deceives people about her time spent as a prostitute. She craves attention and often neglects those around her so that sh can receive more of the limelight.
An Aristotelian tragic hero’s downfall is a result of their own mistakes or flaws. The night that Stella goes into labor, Stanley and Blanche are left alone in the apartment, and a drunken Stanley rapes her. This is a result of Blanche’s flirting and so she is partially responsible. This event, along with the fact that Stella doesn’t believe Blanche, is the trigger that sends her over the edge and leads to her nervous breakdown. In the closing scene of the play, as Stella confronts Stanley, a nurse and doctor cart Blanche off to a mental hospital . Blanche struggles at first, but then as sedative is administered, Blanche smiles as she enters a...