A Comparison Of A Streetcar Named Desire And The Master Builder

769 words - 4 pages

The Comedy and Tragedy of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Master Builder

It has been said that the world is a comedy to those that think, and a tragedy to those who feel.  This philosophy is supported by two important literary works, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen. In each piece, the sensitive and emotional characters experience tremendous pain, while the cold and unfeeling characters are simply amused by the pain of others.

In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams shows two characters who have very different experiences of the world.  For Stanley Kowalski, the world is a comedy. He constantly causes pain to ...view middle of the document...

  She experiences several flashbacks throughout the play of her husband's suicide, revealing her guilt, an emotion that haunts her life.  Blanche's sensitivity eventually leads to her final tragedy, as one life event after another (the deaths of family members, the loss of Belle Reve, the rejection of Mitch, and the rape by Stanley) causes her to lose her sanity.

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen also shows two characters who perceive the world in different ways.  For Hilda, the world is a comedy that is to be played out according to her will.  She is a selfish and fanciful young girl who attempts to manipulate Solness into building her a castle.  Hilda scorns the old-fashioned concept of "duty" and thinks of life, instead, as a romantic adventure. Solness, on the other hand, is a very sensitive person who relies heavily on his emotions.  For instance, he is unable to overcome the fear that the upcoming generation will replace him.  It is this inherent sensitivity that will ultimately lead to Solness' tragedy.

Henrik Ibsen uses several literary elements to convey the idea that "life is a comedy for those that think, a tragedy for those who feel".  For instance, Solness is characterized as an...

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