Tennessee Williams

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Therehave been many playwrights throughout the American history. However,one individual strayed away from the status quo and establishedrevolutionary work. It is arguably noted that his immensecontributions to the American theater are exceptional andinestimable. His ultimate achievements in the literary world are as aresult of his personal encounters and highly ranked plays. William isa poet because he has a good understanding of the people and the lifein general. Consequently, his perceptions are quick and sharp he isamong the few characters who can evoke the sense of life withcontinuous flow pattern of human aspirations and needs. Thiswork will seek to point out some of his achievements, contributionsand the use of taboo subjects in the American theater as well aslearning more about personal life.

TennesseeWilliams’ Bibliography

Williamswas born in Columbus on March 26, 1911. He was raised by his caringgrandparents and mother. He underwent through a difficult, painfuland troubling upbringing. His maternal dad, Cornelius Williams workedas a shoe salesman and an emotionally absent father. He becameprogressively more abusive at a time when William and his siblingswere growing up. After an almost fatal suffering from diphtheria,Williams was constantly a sick child under the continued care of hisoverprotective mother (Pearce, 2016). Subsequently, he had a closeconnection with Rose, his older sister who had schizophrenia andeventually a mental disorder even after an unsuccessful lobotomy. Hisfamily relocated to St. Louis in 1923 since his father wastransferred to assume the rank of a manager. During this time,William felt the sense of being isolated in the new environment. As aresult, he tried to relieve this feeling by writing short fiction andpoetry. His brilliant writing skills made him win an essay writingcompetition which was sponsored by Smart Set Magazine his firstpublished work was titled, “Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?”

Notably,some of Williams outstanding works comprise of AStreetcar Named Desire,LastSummer, Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.All these marvelous writings are comprised of subjects that areperceived to be a taboo. One of his famous quotes from AStreetcar Named Desire waswhen he compared deaths and funerals saying that funerals are quite,but deaths are not quite all the time. Williams approach to taboosubjects aided in expanding the topics that were present to Americanplaywrights and filmmakers despite the censorship during his time(Pearce, 2016). In the video “: A life oftheatre” by Johansson, he refers to Williams as one of the mostimportant figures to bring contemporary drama that is seen in thetheater today. More so, Michael Billington has written an articleabout “: the quiet revolutionary” where hedescribes Williams as the best American dramatist with a vast talentin comedy. Consequently, one of his sayings derived from theInspirational Quote Database where he was quoted saying that, “Deathis one moment, and life is so many of them.”Finally, in New YorkTimes article, he was quoted saying that he was ignorantly unbotheredabout his social life and that most of his close friends wereaccidental. These quotes clearly point out the manner in which heapproached life and the people around him.

WhyWilliams Used Taboo Subjects in His Work?

Heused taboo topics to highlight his personal experiences in hisstories and plays as well as being honest with his audience. He had acolorful life and he made it a norm to write about what was perceivedto be taboo during his time. Additionally, he used taboo to createmore awareness of the struggles that outcast or marginalized personsgo through especially their fears and insecurities. As a result, hewas able to evoke the understanding of life in general as well as thehuman needs through the use of ideas that were not discussed duringthat time.

HowWilliams Started Using Ideas That Were Not Discussed During His Time?

Williamsbegan his writing career after going through a lot of struggles as achild. He was brought up at a time of the Great Depression, thevarious changes of presidents as well as a fire that transformed workpolicy everywhere in the United States. Consequently, his work wasinspired by the communication challenge he encountered when he wasyoung. To deal with his struggles and life in general, Williamsstarted writing he composed plays, books, and poems. Sexuality,Drug, alcohol abuse and childhood mostly influenced his writingskills.

WhatWere the Taboo Issues Addressed by William?

Heexplored alcoholism, sex, homosexuality, violence, and greed. Moreso, these subjects were imbued with an air of corruption andmelancholy. His plays were a combination of excellent language withthe ability of airing out subjects that no one dared to speak aboutsuch as madness and addiction among other themes. The use of thetaboo subjects as mentioned in this section made him to become aknown figure internationally for addressing topics that wereappealing to the film industry.


TennesseeWilliams is well known as a result of his approach which overcame“the trend” of the twentieth century. He was excellent andprolific, breathing life and passion into various characters in hisworks. As a result of his various exceptional work as discussed inthis essay, he has left behind a remarkable body of work inclusive ofthe plays that are continually performed all over the globe. He isalways remembered for his haunting, powerful and lyrical voice andone of the most fundamental forces in twentieth-century Americandrama. He used some of the ideas that were not being discussed atthat time since they were considered to be a taboo, these themesplayed a critical role in expanding topics of discussion in theAmerican dramas.


Pearce,W. D. (2016). : A Literary Life.&nbspTheatreHistory Studies.