Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Analysis of The Mendacity Scene

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About this sample


Words: 640 |

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4 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

Words: 640|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Apr 11, 2022

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a film that was released in 1958 and was directed by Richard Brooks. The movie was derived from a play with the same title written by Tennessee Williams, the renowned playwright. The movie centers around the tumultuous relationship between Brick (Paul Newman) and Maggie “the Cat” (Elizabeth Taylor) as they go back to the family estate to throw a birthday party to the ailing Big Daddy (Burl Ives). In the mendacity scene, Big Daddy is returning home from the hospital in the company of Big Mama (Judith Anderson). When they alight from their private plane, they are met by Cooper (Jack Carson) who is flanked by his entire family. Maggie is also present, although she appears forlorn and indifferent. Cooper’s wife, Mae (Madeleine Sherwood) together with her kids tries hard to win the attention of Big Daddy. However, Big Daddy is only drawn towards Maggie. The scene ends with the news that Big Daddy is not going to die from cancer.

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This scene seems to be package most of the themes addressed in the movie in one fold. It touches on perhaps the most important theme in the movie which is deception. Deception, the overarching message in the film and is well captured in this scene. It is fair to say that the entire plot of this film is based on the lie conveyed in this scene. When Big Daddy is diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, the rest of his family are eager to grab a big pie of his fortune. This struggle for inheritance brings out the sycophancy in Mae and the conflict between Brick and his brother Cooper. This scene depicts a happy Big Daddy who is content that his cancer has finally gone away. However, this diagnosis turns out to be a big deception. The truth of the matter is that Big Daddy’s doctor liaised with his family to lie to the old man concerning the severity of his condition.

This deception is inherent among most of the film’s characters who either lie to themselves or others or both. Throughout the movie, the characters rant about “mendacity,” about failing to tell the truth, or facing up to reality (Bradshaw, 2017). In this scene, Mae’s sycophancy is an obvious deception that she uses to endear herself to Big Daddy. Moreover, the film keeps the audience guessing about the true nature of most relationships (Bastien, 2016). This is a cinematic deception that warrants the viewer to discover the reality of the situation from weighty glances and fleeting hints. This technique can turn out to be frustrating particularly concerning Skipper, Brick’s closest friend who killed himself. The viewer never gets to see Skipper but Brick’s marriage is still haunted by his presence. The bond between Brick and Skipper was vividly described in William’s play but movie glosses over it.

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Williams is purported to have disliked the film adaptation as a result of its inability to address issues of sexism and homophobia (Bastien, 2016). The film was confined by the Hays Code which included a set of moral principles that governed the movie industry up to the 1960s. However, this blurred approach broadens the characters' inability to face up to their truths and faults. This process results in a Southern-like story whereby the truth is usually out of range regardless of how much the audience yearns for it. As such, the entire movie seems to flow from one deception to another. This scene just happens to capture the biggest deception in the film.


  1. Bastien, A. J. (2016, November 16). The Contradictory Power of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Retrieved from
  2. Bradshaw, P. (2017, December 8). The Cat on a Hit Tin Roof film may be censored ? but in some ways it's superior. Retrieved from
  3. Brooks, R. (Director). (1958). The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof [Motion picture]. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: Analysis Of The Mendacity Scene. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: Analysis Of The Mendacity Scene.” GradesFixer, 11 Apr. 2022,
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: Analysis Of The Mendacity Scene. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: Analysis Of The Mendacity Scene [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 11 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from:
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