Study on the Ethical Dilemma of the “Marginal People” in Tennessee Williams’ Plays
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 5, September 2020, Pages: 161-167
Received: Jul. 20, 2020;
Accepted: Aug. 3, 2020;
Published: Sep. 24, 2020
Views 294 Downloads 150
Liu Maosheng, Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China
Luo Keman, Foreign Languages Collage, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China
Follow on us
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is an important playwright in the post-war American theatre. He wrote at least 70 plays in his life, totally winning him four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and other various theatre awards. Unlike the great realist playwrights such as Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller who mainly focus on the tragedies of ordinary people, Williams turned his attention to “marginal people” who live solitarily and vulnerably in the dark corners of society, forgotten and even abandoned mercilessly by us. Taking them as eternal protagonists in his plays, Williams tells the tragic life of these neglected groups. In the light of Ethical Literary Criticism, this paper mainly analyzes the “marginal people” in Tennessee Williams’ the three most representative plays, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, from three aspects: the complicated ethical environments, the ethical identity crises, and the destructive ethical choices of the “marginal people”, the purpose of which is to reveal the root causes of the tragic life of the “marginal people” and Williams’ great ethical concern as a playwright. Williams hopes that we can be kind and tolerant to our compatriots, giving understanding and love to the absurd world and the meaning of life, so that the “marginal people” can be completely saved. At the same time, he also warns that those who are experiencing the marginalized experience cannot give up their own salvation——facing positively and re-embracing the world is the most correct choice.
Tennessee Williams, “Marginal People”, Plays, Ethical Environment, Ethical Identity, Ethical Choice
To cite this article
Study on the Ethical Dilemma of the “Marginal People” in Tennessee Williams’ Plays, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Vol. 8, No. 5,
2020, pp. 161-167.
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Matthew C. Roudané. The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams [M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Zhang Ying. Phantoms of the Drama——On the Absent Gay Images in the Major Plays of Tennessee Williams [D]. Shandong Normal University, 2007.
Nie Zhenzhao. Introduction to Ethical Literary Criticism [M]. Beijing: Peking University Press, 2014.
Stanton Stephen S. Tennessee Williams: A Collection of Critical Essays [M]. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977.
Boxill Rogel. Tennessee Williams [M]. London: Macmillan Publisher Ltd., 1987.
Savran, David. By Coming Suddenly into a Room that I Thought was Empty: Mapping the Closet with Tennessee Williams [J]. Studies in the literary Imagination, 1991 (2).
Devlin Albert. The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams: 1945-1957 [M]. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004.
Madison Stephen. Fags, Hags and Queers Gender Dissent and Hetero-social Bonds in Gay Culture [M]. Basing-stoke, Hampshire: Macmil-lan Press Ltd, 2000.
Devilin Albert. J. (ed.). Conversations with Tennessee Williams [M]. London: University Press of Mississippi, 1986.
Paller Michael. Gentlemen Callers: Tennessee Williams, Homosexuality, and Mid-Twentieth-Century Drama [M]. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Yu Guangzhong. Intensive Reading Poetry of Yu Guangzhong [M]. Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, 2017.
Williams Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie [M]. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1999.
Williams Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire [M]. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004.
Nie Zhenzhao. Ethical Literary Criticism: A New Approach to Literary Criticism [J]. Foreign Literature Studies, 2004 (5).
Li Yinhe. Aspects of Queer Theory [J]. Social Science Abroad, 2002 (2).
Jeanne Meaglin. Tennessee Williams: Illusion and Reality, Sexuality and Love [M]. London: University Press of Mississippi, 1977.
Williams Tennessee. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof [M]. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004.
Williams, Tennessee, Collected Stories [M]. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1985.