In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

In A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the character of Stanley is one of great cruelty. For example, after Stanley hits Stella during the poker game Eunice scolds him: “You can’t beat on a woman an’ then call ‘er back! She won’t come! And her going’ t’ have a baby! … You stinker! You whelp of a Polack, you! I hope they do haul you in and turn the fire hose on you, same as the last time!” (66). Immediately after beating Stella, Stanley comes outside and calls to her, begging her return. This is especially cruel of Stanley because of how he pulls on Stella’s heartstrings, playing into the fact that he knows how much Stella adores him. He also understands how Stella depends on him, especially with a baby on the way. Stanley knows that Stella will always return to him after he beats her, no matter how violent he is. Stanley reveals his cruelty to the reader once again when he purchases Blanche a ticket back to Laurel: “Ticket! Back to Laurel! On the Greyhound! Tuesday!” (136). After much time spent living with Blanche, Stanley surely understands how damaged Blanche is. Despite this, he buys her a ticket to Laurel, the one place she is not welcome. By doing this, Stanley is not just showing his hatred, but reminding Blanche of a variety of traumatic memories and experiences. When Stanley rapes Blanche at the end of the play he exposes to the reader what he really is, the epitome of cruelty. Stanley exclaims, “Tiger-tiger! Drop the bottle-top! Drop it! We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning!” (162). When Stanley rapes Blanche, it is the epitome of cruelty. Blanche is at her most vulnerable point, heavily intoxicated and mentally unstable. Stanley is at his most powerful and proud moment, days before his child is born. By raping Blanche, Stanley commits the ultimate act of cruelty, taking advantage of Blanche and betraying his wife.