The Spectacles in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 426 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Words: 426|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Without spectacles, it’s impossible to create realism and without realism, it’s impossible to have spectacles. ​The Glass Menagerie, ​written by Tennessee Williams, is a realistic fictional play based off the theme, memory. Taking place in 1944, ​The Glass Menagerie ​portrays the current era accurately by capturing the imagination and heart of the American public. Tennessee Williams would not have been able to accomplish this modern day touch without the use of specific spectacles he chose himself. Learning what realism and spectacles are makes it easier to understand how Williams incorporated them into the ​The Glass Menagerie.

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With the dramatic romance era coming to an end, the realism movement began in the early 1900’s. However, realistic fiction didn’t become popular in the theater until the mid-nineteenth-century. Realist fiction authors, such as Williams, accurately report the details of a specific historical era. In their portrayals of love, marriage, and family, realists explore social and psychological factors contributing to conflicts in nineteenth-century domestic life. In fact, many are noted for their attention to the complexities of human psychology and the numerous factors contributing to individual motivation.

Spectacles are used to create a visually striking performance or play through various elements of theatre. The spectacle in the theatre can involve all of the aspects of scenery, costumes, and special effects in a production that determines the world and atmosphere, influencing the quality of the play through the audience's eye. Williams incorporated lighting to his scenery in ​The Glass Menagerie ​to create a realistic fiction play for his audience seeking to form a close relationship with his audience through relation.

The usage of lighting affects the mood of characters and emphasizes important parts of the play. Williams used lighting in ​The Glass Menagerie ​to enhance the emotions of his characters that otherwise may not be detected through sound itself and to help the audience focus. ​In the quarrel scene between Tom and Amanda, in which Laura has no active par, the clearest pool of light is on her figure. ​The previous sentence is a direct example from the play where Williams used lighting to capture Laura’s emotions throughout Amanda’s and Tom’s argument.

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The concept of understanding spectacles is essential in learning how they contribute to a play’s overall theme and how they contribute to create ​The Glass Menagerie. ​In Williams's case, he used spectacles to create a realistic fictional play for his audience and he succeeded in doing so. “No play in the modern has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams' ​'The Glass Menagerie​”.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Spectacles in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
“The Spectacles in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2020,
The Spectacles in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
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