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Characters / A Streetcar Named Desire

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Here be the main characters from A Streetcar Named Desire and the tropes they embody.


Blanche Dubois

A southern bell from a prestigious background, who lives with her younger sister, Stella, and her brother-in-law, Stanley.
  • Break the Haughty: Blanche is quite proud of her rich family background and her Southern Belle status, but their property is lost and her looks are fading away. She stays with her married younger sister whose husband doesn't get along well with Blanche. And it only gets worse...
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Blanche prefers the world of her own creation, where she still is a chaste lady of refinement and she still can win the favors of men like Shep Huntleigh (whom we never meet and might not exist). This is highlighted when Stanley is revealing her falsehoods to Stella and Blanche is singing in the bath: "Say, its only a paper moon/Sailing over a cardboard sea/But it wouldn't be make-believe/If you believed in me." Unfortunately, by the end of the play this make-believe world is the only world she can stand to live in.
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  • Desperately Craves Affection: Blance desperately desires to be touched and fears it as well.
  • Hot for Student: She had an affair with a teenage student. This was why she was fired.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When Blanche isn't calling Stanley a 'Polack', or deriding Stella for marrying him, Blanche can potentially be a genuinely nice person. For example, she's quick to help Stella after Stanley attacks her, and is greatly fearful for her welfare when she chooses to return to him.
  • Meaningful Name: As Blanche herself tells to Mitch, her name means "white woods" in French.
  • Old Maid: Modern equivalent. She was married, but it's implied her husband was homosexual. She would like to get married again. She is still fairly good-looking, but is not happy about the fact that she might not be aging gracefully.
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  • Rape Leads to Insanity: Downplayed and invoked, after Stanley rapes her, as while she was traumatized, she wasn't too mentally unwell but, her descent into madness, gives Stanley an excuse to send her to a mental home.
  • Southern Belle: Blanche is a Southern Belle in the 20th century, a fading relic of a bygone age.
  • Stepford Smiler

Stanley Kowalski

Stella's husband
  • Berserk Button: More than a few, but especially being called a Polack. This is both because he doesn't like his heritage being disparaged, and because he considers himself an American above all else.
    I am not a Polack. People from Poland are Poles, not Polacks. But what I am is a one hundred percent American, born and raised in the greatest country on earth and proud as hell of it, so don’t ever call me a Polack.
  • Domestic Abuse: Fits this trope to a "T".
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  • Jerkass: He's an asshole
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
  • Karma Houdini: He gets off completely scot-free in the original play. The movie has Stella leave him, but he probably deserved worse than that.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Stanley is a brute, but he is very cunning and smarter than he appears.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Rated M for Manly: Deconstructed. He seems macho, but he's very petty.
  • Role Reprisal: Brando had previously played him in the stage version.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Mitch.
  • Troubled, but Cute

Harold 'Mitch' Mitchell


Stella Kowalski

Blanche's younger sister and Stanley's wife.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She loves Stanley but he beats on her.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: The reason Stella doesn't leave Stanley, though violence toward other people crosses the line for her. Not enough to side with her sister after finding out that her husband raped her though, unfortunately.
  • Stellar Name: Stella means "a star" in Latin. Lampshaded by Blanche when she arrives to the Kowalskis.
  • Stepford Smiler: Especially in the movie.
  • Proper Lady: She acts like a deconstructed version of this, given the setting and nature of the play/film, in which case, she plays the loyal and faithful wife, however, in playing this, she's subject to much mistreatment.
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