Newest Review: ... with her tormented loneliness. This theme of silence is a motif within the plot and becomes the core embodiment of the play. Amidst... more
There is no victory for a cat on a hot tin roof.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Other Plays - Tennessee Williams
Member Name: Jessica_Hayley
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Other Plays - Tennessee Williams
Advantages: Witty and intelligent script. Enthralling characters. Relatable and relevent underlying messages.
Disadvantages: Personally? Nothing. A truly great read
The play immerses the reader in immediate pathetic fallacy; it is a scorching, hot summers day which acts as a parallel to the unspoken, heated tensions between Maggie and her husband Brick. Maggie ostentatiously struts around the room whilst ranting about her sister-in-law, Mae's, little 'no-neck monster' children. Opposed to this, Brick remains cold and indifferent, following her rants with silences or monosyllabic answers. Maggie prostrates herself seductively towards Brick but with no reciprocation. At first, I found Maggie's incessant rants a bit long-winded, but I soon realised that the slow start and dialogue, was a device to foreshadow the gradual unveiling of a hysterical, dissatisfied woman who feels unloved by her husband. Even though Maggie's humour is bitchy, you can't help like this woman with her enthralling feistiness and sympathise with her tormented loneliness.
This theme of silence is a motif within the plot and becomes the core embodiment of the play. Amidst this family crisis, Maggie refuses to follow 'the laws of silence' because things only fester and become malignant. She can no longer bear the relationship as she feels like a frustrated and jumpy 'cat on a hot tin roof'. Secrets begin to resurface as Maggie relentlessly forces him to speak of his unmentionable, suppressed past. Maggie reminds him of her affair with his friends, Skipper, claiming that they were both in love with him and only slept together to feel close to Brick. Skipper died soon after. Hence, comes the gradual reasoning to Brick's alcoholism and it seems he is trying to escape from an oppressed conscience. Furthermore, there are hints within the text of homosexual desires between Brick and Skipper. This is yet another unspoken reality of a person's inner desires which has been suppressed behind a mask of social conventionality. Williams flawlessly shows however, that when an inner silence brews, it will only lead to the most devastating consequences. Although, the play deals with such a grim subject matter, the script is also shrewdly witty and enthralling.
Brick is staying with Maggie, at his father's exquisite house, full of servants galore and surrounded by his large, immediate family. His father, 'Big Daddy', is dieing of cancer but his family don't want him to know, and so he and his wife, Big Mamma, ignorantly believe that he only has a spastic-colon. This unspoken reality acts as a parallel to Brick and Maggie's unspoken, failing relationship as Big Daddy's imminent death is another reality that remains silenced in order to keep a fašade of an idyllic, happy family. The plot driven force centres around the question 'who will be Big Daddy's heir'. Maggie talks about how Bricks' brother, Cooper and his wife, Mae, are money grabbing vultures who are exploiting Big Daddy's death. Mae looks down on Maggie for being childless throughout the play, and having children merely seems like device to win over Bid Daddy's affections. This depicts the shallow nature of the upper-class society that they resided in, where Maggie and Brick were deemed insuperior for not succumbing to the conventional norms of a traditional family, as it meant that there must have been something 'wrong' with their marriage. The servants enter with a birthday cake and Mae's children boisterously enter the stage with a grotesquely cringing sing-a-long for Big Daddy's birthday present. Big Daddy is seems, is also sick of silence; sick of the pretence, and rancorously ushers everyone out of the room except for Brick. In attempting to establish a certain intimacy with Brick, Big Daddy will call him to judgement and back to reality, helping him to become his rightful heir. He feels closer to Brick than Cooper; it is a narcassitic love, where Big Daddy sees his younger self in Brick, accepting the mandacious life that he is leading, but always having a sense of deep regret. Whereas Cooper couldn't be more of a mere product of the upper-class society; a superficial, money-grabbing egotist.
In Big Daddy's ignorant realisation that he no longer has cancer, he talks about how he had merely 'married into society' and wants to find a beautiful, young woman and "hump her from hell to breakfast." Like Maggie, Big Mamma hysterically prostrates herself before her husband, demanding love and affection, sobbing that he has never believed that she loves him. 'Wouldn't it be funny if that were true', Big Daddy murmurs to himself, which becomes a symbolic phrase of the mendacity of these two women, who were predisposed to love, merely to conform to societies moralistic conventions.
Williams uses the bitterly angry, Big Daddy, as a parallel to his son and the hysterical, unloved Big Mamma as parallel to Maggie. Hence, Williams illustrates that societies' morality is the enemy of human morality; it only creates an objective rulebook to how people should live their lives, ignoring the subjective individuality of a person's inner needs and desires. Williams uses Big Daddy, as a parallel to his son and the hysterical, unloved Big Mamma as parallel to Maggie. I feel he wanted to reflect 'history repeating itself' within the family, of a perpetual inner suppression, as a product of an unceasing judgmental society. Hence, we should learn that silencing your desires and inner expression, merely as a means to 'fit in' to society, will only lead to self perpetuated isolation and torment.
Hidden homosexuality, guilty consciences, incessant mendacity of 'forced love' and the inadmissible reality of Big Daddy's imminent death, causes tensions to brew like the suffocating summer heat around them, leading to an inevitable explosive release. The play leaves us anxiously wondering who will become Big Daddy's heir; Cooper, who's wife is popping out babies left, right and centre, but have no real love towards Big Daddy, or Brick who may not live up to the standards of a traditional family, but maintains an unspoken but irrefutable sense of love for his father? This is truly an fantastic read and teaches the reader to stay true to one's self, rather than conform to the majority around us as a means to keep 'face'. After all, there is no victory for a 'cat on a hot tin roof'.
Summary: One of the greatest plays of all time
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