Humanities › Literature "A Streetcar Named Desire": The Rape Scene Violence Explodes in Scene 10 of this Popular Tennessee Williams Play Share Flipboard Email Print Marlon Brando plays Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. Hulton Archive / Getty Images Literature Plays & Drama Basics & Advice Playwrights Play & Drama Reviews Monologues Improvisation Games and Activities Best Sellers Classic Literature Poetry Quotations Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By Wade Bradford Theater Expert M.A., Literature, California State University - Northridge B.A., Creative Writing, California State University - Northridge Wade Bradford, M.A., is an award-winning playwright and theater director. He wrote and directed seven productions for Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera's youth theater. our editorial process Wade Bradford Updated January 14, 2020 Known by many as "The Rape Scene," scene 10 of "A Streetcar Named Desire" is filled with dramatic action and fear inside the flat of Stanley Kowalski. Though the protagonist Blanche Dubois of Tennessee Williams' famous play attempts to talk her way out of an attack, a violent attack takes place. Setting the Scene It has been a rough night for Blanche Dubois. Her sister's husband ruined her chances at love by spreading rumors (mostly true) about her.Her boyfriend dumped her.She is frightfully worried about her sister Stella who is at the hospital, about to deliver a baby. To top it all off, Scene 10 of a Streetcar Named Desire finds Blanche wildly intoxicated. Scene 10 of "A Streetcar Named Desire" Prompted by a combination of alcohol and mental instability, Blanche imagines that she is hosting a high-class party, surrounded by amorous admirers. Stanley Kowalski interrupts her hallucination. He has just returned from the hospital. The baby will not be delivered until the morning, so he plans to get some sleep before going back to the hospital. He too appears to have been drinking, and when he opens up a bottle of beer, spilling its contents over his arms and torso, he says, "Shall we bury the hatchet and make it a loving-cup?" Blanche is terrified by his advances. She correctly perceives that his predatory nature is focused on her. To make herself seem powerful (or perhaps simply because her fragile mental state has made her delusional), Blanche tells a string of lies. She states that her old friend, an oil tycoon, has sent her a wired invitation to travel to the Caribbean. She also fabricates a story about her ex-boyfriend, Mitch, saying that he returned to beg forgiveness. However, according to her lie, she turned him away, believing that their backgrounds were too incompatible. This is the final straw for Stanley. In the most explosive moment of the play, he declares: STANLEY: There isn't a damn thing but imagination, and lies, and tricks! [ ... ] I've been on to you from the start. Not once did you pull the wool over my eyes. After yelling at her, he goes into the bathroom and slams the door. The stage directions indicate very specific actions and sounds that take place outside the apartment A woman laughs insanely while running through the street.A man in a tuxedo chases after the woman who violently slaps him.Several men attack each other. All of these disturbing events suggest how drunken violence and erratic passion are common in this setting. In a feeble attempt to call for help, Blanche picks up the phone and asks the operator to connect her with the oil tycoon, but of course, it is futile. Stanley exits the bathroom, dressed in silk pajamas. Blanche is now desperate and wants to get out. She goes into the bedroom, shutting the drapes behind her as if they could serve as a barricade. Stanley follows, openly admitting that he wants to "interfere" with her. Blanche smashes a bottle and threatens to twist the broken glass into his face. This seems to only amuse and enrage Stanley further. He grabs her hand, twisting it behind her and then picks her up, carrying her to the bed. The stage directions call for a quick fade out, but the audience is well aware that Stanley Kowalski is about to rape Blanche DuBois. Further Reading Corrigan, Mary Ann. "Realism and Theatricalism in 'A Streetcar Named Desire.'" Modern Drama 19.4 (1976): 385–396.Koprince, Susan. "Domestic Violence in 'A Streetcar Named Desire.'" Bloom, Harold (ed.), Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, pp 49–60. New Orleans: Infobase Publishing, 2014. Vlasopolos, Anca. “Authorizing History: Victimization in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’” Theatre Journal 38.3 (1986): 322–338.