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CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS)
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The classic Tennessee Williams story, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is about human experience in a society, which tries to dictate to people how they should live.
The story of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof begins with Jack Straw and Peter Ochello, a homosexual couple who in 1919 took in a young vagrant (Big Daddy) to help them to run their cotton plantation. As the plantation grew Pollit (Big Daddy) rose to become overseer. Then Ochello?s partner after Straw?s death and finally sole owner to the plantation. He got married at 25 to Ida who bore him two sons eight year difference. He hated the first one (Goopper) but loved the second one (Brick). By the time they were in college, Pollit who left school at ten was a multi millionaire and the plantation stretched over 28000 acre of a rich Delta soil.
The son he hated, became a lawyer, married and has 5 children was a success in the world at 35. Whereas the son he loved was ?a has been? at 27. The handsome Brick, an athletic star at college, became an alcoholic after short-lived career as professional football player and sport announcer. He was married reluctantly to a girl of shabby, genteel background (Margaret) who held only a lukewarm attraction for him. Even Before their marriage he was far more interested in a fellow athlete (Skipper) with whom he imagined he had a ?pure? relationship. When Brick is hospitalised for back injury Margaret, who began to feel like the cat on the title, pairs off with Skipper. Margaret demands that Skipper either leaves Brick alone with her or that he makes him to confess his true feelings. Skipper tried to reveal his hidden desire to Brick. Brick would not listen. The rejected Skipper died soon after of drugs and alcohol and Brick stopped sleeping with Margaret. Thinking that she was responsible for his friend?s ruin gave him a reason and excuse not to get intimately involved with Margaret toward whom he had been indifferent from the beginning of their relationship and marriage.
At the same time Big Daddy stops sleeping with his wife Ida. In the five years since then he develops cancer but when the play begins he does not know yet. Indeed he and his wife have been told that the results of the tests are negative.
The events take place on Big Daddy?s Birthday in and about the plantation house at which the family is gathered. Goopper afraid that his father will leave him noting has a plan in his briefcase to get control of the estate. Brick having tried to jump the hurdles at his high old school the previous night hobbles about on a crutch with one foot in a cast.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is two dialogues (Act 1 and Act 2) and an ensemble. Because the drama is over at the end of the second act the ensemble is an appendix to Act 1 and Act 2. It contains no intrigue because Williams is interested not in the plot but in the revelation of characters through confrontation.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof refers to a particular fantasy of femininity and feminine desire or of an uneasy or agitated state. The story?s primary cat is Maggie, a typically, lonely dissatisfied woman who begs for love before Brick. Maggie?s loneliness has made her a ?cat?, hard, anxious and bitter.
Margaret bitterness rests also in her childlessness, which calls her status as a normal wife into question. Without a child her and Bricks place in Big Daddy household is not assured. Maggie could not allow going back to being poor as she was born and brought up.
However, Maggie is determined to win over her husband, ?What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?? she asks. ?Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can??
This leads to the lie where Maggie claims that she is pregnant and is ready to do anything to force Brick to make her pregnant.
Maggie sketches the triangle between her Brick and Skipper in her speech in Act 1. As this speech makes clear; the only true love in Brick?s life lies between him and his friend Skipper. Maggie has spent her life accompanying the two football heroes for the benefit of the public ? she has been the consummate the trophy wife. The dead man continues to intervene between husband and wife and Maggie?s protests that she is alive are not heard. According to Brick Maggie is to be blamed for destroying the Brick, Skipper and Maggie triangle by forcing Skipper to admit his true feelings about Brick. Brick believes that she ultimately caused his death. Note how it is not clear in Brick?s confession of jealousy, which of the two (Maggie or Skipper) he is jealous about.
The favourite son and lover, Brick possesses the charm to those that have given up and assumed a pose of indifference before the world. Brick represent the typical masculinity of the self-possessed, self-contained, and untouchable. Before this indifferent block, characters find themselves in full with desire (Maggie, Mama) ...