Cat on a hot Tin Roof
The famous and acknowledged playwright Tennessee Williams liked his play Cat on a hot Tin Roof the most as it discovers human relations in the society. The main idea of the play is to show how people communicate when they feel that society dictates them how to live and what to think. The characters of the play are Bricks, his wife Maggie, his father Big Daddy Pollit and his mother called Big mama. Maggie is “the cat” and Big Daddy Pollit is a tycoon who believes in keeping his family together. During his birthday party, several family issues come to light. They make the character of each of them evident before them all. In this paper I intend to explore the significance of the themes in the play and how they affect the family relationships.
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There are four main issues that Family is facing in the play. They are death, mendacity, alcoholism, and homosexuality. They live a life full of calculated plans. The plans are meant to make each one of them succeed in their plans. When the problem is seen and clear everyone tries to hide the information from the other family member as it is with Big Daddy’s sickness. Mendacity is played out loud here as they all pretend that all is well with Big Daddy while he is dying and everyone knows it. Everyone has a reason why they want to keep the information from their father. According to Brick, he wants to spare his father the pain of finding out about his terminal illness. He believes that letting him know on his birthday would be a big blow to him. He wants his father to enjoy his birthday. Maggie on her part wants the information withheld so that Gooper and Mae cannot focus on their father’s wealth. She believes that Brick is not doing to ensure he inherits more of his father’s wealth than his brother Gooper. As a desperate move she announces that she is pregnant so as to get recognition on wealth sharing. That plays another mendacious act of Maggie who knows very well she has not been intimate with Brick for a long time. Everyone in the family refuse to beleve Maggie and as a point she exclaims to Brick that she is going to “make the lie, true”. It is evident that relations based on money cannot result well. Mendacity is noticeable in their marriage as it is a cover up of what their true intentions are for each other.
Brick is seen to be struggling with alcoholism. Big Daddy enquires about his problem. The family believes that the suicidal act of Brick’s close friend Skipper led him to being alcoholic. Skipper and Brick were long time friends. Their close friendship had made Maggie suspect them of being romantically involved with each other. She believed that Skipper was the reason her husband was not intimate with her. Maggie seduced Skipper and slept with him as a way to confirm her fears over her husband’s sexual orientation. Her doubts become stronger when Skipper is unable to perform well enough. He found it difficult to believe that his long time friend had committed suicide because of his rejection. Mendacity is seen when Maggie is unfaithful to her husband and when she is found out she justifies her actions with the homosexuality concerns she had.
This is a family where lie is a common thing and everyone is refusing to trust the others. There is a phrase used by Brick and Big Daddy when they tell their wives “wouldn’t it be funny if that would true”. This goes to show that the truth is known but they want to be deceitful to each other. Brick is seen to be affected by all the lies his wife tells him. He recurrently mentions that he is tired of all the “lies and liars that surround him” (Bloom, 36). He feels cheated by his long time friend Skipper who never told him the truth about his sexual orientation. He finds it disturbing that his friend would make advances to him after many years of being friends. He wonders why his friend never mentioned before and had to do much later in life. He also feels betrayed by Skipper and his wives who go behind his back and sleep together. He lacks the trust a friend wouuld have towards another. Tired of the lies, Brick tell his father about his terminal illness. This goes to show that Brick was an honest man but surrounded by mendacity. His siblings, Gooper and Mae were planning behind his back how to share their father’s wealth. Brick did not seem very concerned about his father’s wealth but his wife Maggie could hear none of that. She wanted him to fight for what she believed what truly theirs.
Big daddy Pollit is also surrounded by mendacity. His children Gooper and Mae care only about his wealth. When they learn that they father is terminally ill, they quickly start discussing how they will share his estate. They are not worried about losing a father but by the wealth they will gain from his demise (William, 45). They do it openly that it’s their mother who tries to stop them. For Big Daddy, his whole family is letting him down. His personal doctor is also not true to him as his liaises with his children to hide about the seriousness of his illness. His doctor knows well that he is terminally ill but gives him a different diagnosis. Big Daddy feels cheated and so walks out of the house. After awhile he walks back and the lets them know that he has accepted his fate and wishes for a peaceful death. Big Daddy is a good man as he is able to bring together his family for his birthday.
Maggie the cat is disappointed that her plans are not going as they should. Her desperation to get wealthy leads her to make drastic decisions. She plans to get pregnant so as to be able inherit wealth from her terminally ill father in law. In life we may not get all what we want in life. But we should strive to be true to one another as that is what makes all the difference in life. People should value family more than they do about wealth. By doing this we ensure that everyone feelings are kept important. Trust should also be a vital issue n every family. By not trusting each other, marriages are bound to fail.
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