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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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Harold Mitchell (Mitch)

Mitch is the most passive character in the play, even more passive than Stella. His tragedy is that he is at once sensitive and mediocre. Hailing from the same poor working class as Stanley, he is not of the same coarseness and vulgarity. In fact, he is laughed at as being namby-pamby by his poker playing friends because he is very concerned about his ailing mother; they call him a 'mama's boy'.

Blanche is quick to notice his sensitivity and his attempt to be courteous in her presence. When she learns from Stella that he is an eligible bachelor, she shows an open interest in him. Mitch is overwhelmed by her attention. He worships her as though she is a goddess, pure, chaste, and innocent. It is pathetic to see Blanche so desperate for an anchor in life that she decides to settle for Mitch; although kind, he is mediocre and clearly not her equal. The aristocratic Blanche and the simple-minded Mitch make an odd couple.

As the pair is shown increasingly together, the differences between them become glaringly apparent. Stanley is inferior in upbringing, uneducated, and unrefined. Blanche will have to make compromises, just like Stella has done; but at least Mitch is non- violent and caring. He also offers permanence, as evidenced in his devotion to his mother. They also share a common bond; both of them have loved and lost their partners to death. There is an outside chance their marriage will work, for they both desperately need someone to love. The reader, however, wonders how long the inflexible and rigid Blanche will be able to tolerate Mitch's inadequacies. He cannot even dance, but stumbles around like a large bear.


Mitch is a foil for Stanley. When he and Blanche talk about his physique, for instance, he is modest. He does not bray like Stanley would have. He also respects Blanche sufficiently not to make advances without her permission; he is careful not to overstep his limit. He tells her to give him a light slap if he does transgress. Stanley cannot stand it that Mitch is attracted to this woman that he resents and manages to spoil it all for them. He reveals Blanche's past to Mitch. Ironically, in escaping from Blanche's "trap", Mitch falls into Stanley's. He tells Blanche he never wants to see her again, but he suggests they first enjoy some sex. When she asks for marriage, he cruelly tells her that she is not clean enough to present to his mother.

Repentance comes too late for this sad character. When Blanche is being forced to leave for the state institution, he feels terrible for having played a part in that end for her. As a result he is left with a life filled with loneliness, guilt, misery, and regret. His attack on Stanley at the end of the play actually depicts his own self- chastisement; he is hitting out at himself for treating Stella so shabbily.

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MonkeyNotes-A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
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