The reason why Any man rapes a woman can never be put down to a simple or singular reason. We tend to see rape as a sexual matter but that has been proven by psychologist to almost never be the case. Rape is a violent act of control, hatred, or suppression. We must look carefully at the character of Stanley and of the changed world that this play is set in. He is usually seen as a brute and a bully and we can not doubt this as per his treatment of his wife and Blanche. However before we align ourselves too much against him we must take a clear look at what the world has made.
Stanley Kowalski is a simple man and he has had little education to raise him from the level that he entered the world. He does not pretend to be anything that he is not in stark contrast to Blanche. Maybe he is unable to. He cannot relate to women in a way that we might understand. He relates Stella as a man not as a husband. He is unable to nurture although he pretend to be concerned about his wife and child and gives this as his reason for wanting to know about what happened to Blanche’s family home.
He is common and vulgar and what you see is what you get. He is manly but only in a way that we could consider physical masculinity. He is proud of his body and has no regard for company in the way he dresses. He can lose control of himself as we saw when he threw the radio out of the window. He is totally physical as we see him breaking dishes and beating his wife. Tennesse Williams wants us to see his rawness and association with meat as in the first scene we see him bring home meat from the butcher. All of this is unquestioned and he is allowed to swing from menacing bully when he is losing at cards to happy child when is winning. All this changes with the appearance of the over sensitive Blacnhe.
This makes his appearance be what it is. Through her eyes he is brutal and she advices his wife to leave as he is too low class against who they used to be. His need to subject her to his control during the rape is started because she is a threat to his marriage. She is foreign to him. Her language and her character is superior and he cant understand. He feels challenged by her. And when he listens to er talking badly about him behind his back the beginning or rage for rape is in his mind. He has ownership of his wife and she does as she is told. Blanche will not bow to him as master of his house as she feels his house to be so much below the standard that she and her sister come from.
Furthermore, his basic desire not to be cheated at any cost is risen by the fact that Belle Reve has been lost. He feels that as Stella’s husband he has been swindled and cheated. He doesn’t care for anyone’s feelings and he will have justice. Blanche’s clothes and jewelery further enrage him as if she has money for these things she surely must have money to pay him back. He Rapes her because she has taken what is his and he wants revenge.
In his defence, he has had a lot to put up with since her arrival in his small apartment. She cannot be seen to be an easy guest. She shows her dislike for him from the start. She has even sexually come on to him which is dangerous by anyone’s standard as she knows what a sexual animal he is. When he finds out that she has had sex with so many men and is a threat of stealing his friend, he cannot understand why she would say no. She is raped in revenge and because he feels that one more man shouldn’t be any difference for somebody who is so easy with her sexual favours.
Stanley is a basic animal and an animals first instect is to survive. In the animal world only the strongest survive and he reasserts himself as the man of the house and the one in charge. He takes control of the situation by sexually dominating her. The rape leaves a broken Blanche, a submissive Stella and a Stanley Kowalski who has regained his identity as a brute who will do what it takes to show the world he is on top.