Dramatic techniques of The Glass Menagerie

Dramatic techniques of The Glass Menagerie

Question: The dramatic techniques found in “The Glass Menagerie”.


“The Glass Menagerie” is one of the most celebrated plays in the history of English literature. The reason behind its fame is that it is the play in which the term ‘memory play’ was coined by Tennessee William (1911-1983). He uses some dramatic techniques to increase its vividness to the readers and to make it historical.

The dramatic techniques in this play: Williams uses those dramatic techniques that are given below-

Use of part instead of act

Tennessee Williams has injected a unique sense in the play by using part in this play instead of act. It is totally different from the usual writing technique of drama like the classical writers or the nineteenth-century playwrights. This play has divided into seven scenes included in two parts. The first part included the first five scenes and the name of this part is “Preparation for a Gentleman Caller”. The last two scenes are included in the second part called “The Gentleman Calls”.

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Psychological realism

The next important technique handled by Williams is the technique of psychological realism. This procedure suggests the writer gives certain attention to the association of conversation. The dialogues in the play reveal the characters in a real way. If we read the play with analytical insight, we will become to know that some of the characters are slightly immature. For example, Amanda Wingfield, as we see, frequently rebukes her son Tom Wingfield on a different matter. Laura Wingfield has a shorter leg but according to Amanda, this problem is nothing big and she (L) should overcome her problems.

Just only one narrator

Williams uses the technique of using only one character as the narrator of the play. He gives this responsibility to Tom Wingfield. Tom has a dual role in this play- the narrator and one of the participators. As he says-

“I am the narrator of the play, and also a character in it.”

To implant, a concise trace of editorial upon the ordinary theater staff is to declare the imaginative and the unmistakable element of the play. As Tom remarks:

“Yes, I have tricks in my pockets, I have things up, my slave. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you an illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you the truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”

The ending is like a new beginning

Another excellent technique used by Williams is using an ending that seems a new play is going to begin in the life of the characters. As we see, the play starts its journey with the chronicle commentary delivered by Tom. It closes with the soliloquy of the habitually baffled Tom Wingfield. Hence, the play is given a taste of completion from the viewpoint of Tom.

Use of music, lighting, legend, screenplay, and images

An additional important dramatic technique injected by Williams is using music, legend, lighting, screenplay, and images. These various elements help to epitomize the alive and new moment of the past in the memory of the storyteller. To bring into clarity, the feeling, and the state of characters, Williams presented legends and pictures. For example, when Laura was drawing out her previous moments in school from her memory, the picture blue-rose came. When Amanda was rashly seducing Tom to stop craving for a film and adventure, the legend of Jolly Roger appeared. This procedure helped the dramatist to get the passionate force of the present by temperance of legend and screenplay.

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From the above discussion, we have come to this stage that Williams comprises some important dramatic techniques in his drama “The Glass Menagerie” to clarify the characters, to bring a motion to the play, to enrage the plot of the play, in a word- to develop the entire drama.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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