Thesis: The outcasts in Tennessee Williams's major plays suffer, not because of the acts or situations which make them outcasts but because of the destructive effect of conventional morality upon them.
More than a half century has passed since critics and theater-goers recognized Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) as an important--perhaps the most important--American playwright. Two recent events, however, have created renewed interest in his work. The first is the death in 1996 of Maria St. Just, who
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values systems I will examine. Williams's non-conformist characters are the desperately fleeing, who struggle against the oppression of conformists; what is eternal is the concept of that struggle, and the "certain moral values" which it reveals. This is reminiscent of Tom Wingfield's remarks: "But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion" (Williams, The Glass Menagerie 1521).