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Overshadowing Deception

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ginnierose
Words 1010
Pages 5
Books, analogous to an ocean, have a glassy surface. This seemingly simple facade gives few indications of the complexities that lie beneath; in both literature and the ocean, if one remembers to dive down a whole new world may be revealed. When reading through a book or play, many people do not delve beyond the surface, focusing only on prominent characteristics and dominant traits throughout the book. However, it is possible to find the deception behind each personality within a book if one analyzes the character's beyond their superficial facade. Since the beginning of time, humans have always stumbled on a boarder between appearance and reality, using deception to mask weaknesses and obscure the harsh eye of society. By examining A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, and The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath the deception humans use in order to appear stronger in society are revealed. In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, there is a dominant theme of deception portrayed by the three main characters in the play. Stella Kowalski, Stanley Kowalski, and Blanche DuBois all have simple personalities that are extremely skewed by the end of the book. Stella states "I'm not in anything I want to get out of," (Williams, 74). This gives Blanche a huge reality check, because someone she adores has accepted such an average life, and has given up in her pursue for perfection, even if most of it is imaginary. This deception also plays a huge role in Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare, through a continuos series of twists throughout the book and hidden motifs, that cannot be seen by the reader until the characters themselves accept the truth or the meaning behind it. The character traits that seem to define the characters in this play, are also their largest deceptions. "CLAUDIO -Can the world buy such a jewel? BENEDICK - Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the song?" (Shakespeare Scene1 pg.181). Although these are both different areas of deception, they both come back to the same statement; humans have always stumbled on a border between appearance and reality, using deception to mask weaknesses from society, regardless of their motives. Blanche DuBios, for example, was the character based in A Streetcar Named Desire, had the biggest conflict between appearance and reality. She seems to be lost in her mind, and longing for her past innocence and beauty. She trying extremely hard to still translate this message of purity through lies and masks, such as back stories of wealthy men and exquisite articles of clothing that she obviously couldn't afford. “I’m not young and vulnerable any more,” Blanche states to Stanley, obviously displaying the thoughts in her head, contracting her actions as a person. (Williams 168). Blanche still acts as if she is a young free girl, full of the innocent pleasures in life. Behind this well thought out mask, Blanche is a middle aged women, who is mentally unstable, a compulsive lier, a trollop, and an alcoholic. Her deceptive mask hides what she hates most about herself, and what she has found that society seems unworthy. In order to grasp with her reality, she must lie for survival. The reader is shown both sides to Blanche; the side she portrays to the world, and the turmoil that exists within her. By witnessing her struggle the readers may find themselves giving Blanche sympathy for her instability and vulnerability, and how she relies on the thin line between deceit and reality to get by. This theme is also noticeable in Much Ado About Nothing,"when the aristocrats use elaborate language to mask their true feelings, or in a more literal view, when the characters wear actual masks to deceive each other. Sylvia Plath also uses deception within her heart wrenching and maddening poems, by using symbolism to display her turmoil and anguish. Although she does not let her reader understand the true root of the problem without deeply inquiring about what she is trying to translate. Plath uses deception to her advantage, because she accepts that she cannot deceive herself, but she can deceive her readers, so that they do not receive the same fate as her. Her deception spawned from her depression and to express it, she hid behind allusions and metaphors within her poems. “I can't deceive myself that out of the bare stark realization that no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter how sure that character is fate, nothing is real, past or future, when you are alone in your room with the clock ticking loudly into the false cheerful brilliance of the electric light,” (Plath, 240). Plath used her writing as a mask to her readers, not fully allowing them to understand her her writing until The Unbridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath, were published. She was a poisonous tree frog, extremely beautiful in her writing and appearance, but extremely deadly in her messages and meanings. Nature shows deceptions in all of it's motives. A seemingly unthreatening Venus Flytrap, for example, has an appearance of just another harmless plant, yet when bugs fly too close to it, it turns in to a venial trap. I believe humans use deceptions to hide their weaknesses from society because it translates our most primal instinct; to survive and gain power. Since the beginning of our existence, deception has helped us hunt, eat, mate, and survive. This now is interpreted into the world we live in. The characters from Tennessee WIlliams' A Street Car Named Desire, Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare, and The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath,' exemplify this to the last degree; the characters are never what they seem, and once their masks are pulled back, their true motives shine through.

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