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Monday, February 8, 2016

An Instance of Verisimilitude: Cat On a Hot Tin Roof

"When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don't work, it's just like shutting a door and locking it in a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. But not facing a fire doesn't put it out. Silence about a thing just magnifies it. It grows and festers in silence, becomes malignant . . . (Williams 32)"

     Cat On a Hot Tin Roof contains one of Tennessee Williams' most famous motifs, present throughout most of his popular works. Williams is well-known for taking a tender subject and working it out into the open. For this, many consider him the most controversial and boundary-breaking playwright of the 20th century. Evidence of his technique is probably more ever-present in this work than any of his others, as this one deals a lot with more tense and taboo subjects. Williams just wants to bring man's true nature to light via the stage.
     Prior to the key quote cited above, romantically frustrated, Margaret, had been fighting with her husband, Brick, about past affairs and why he doesn't show her affection anymore. Throughout the play, scandalous and often important secrets are kept from various members of the family, from Big Daddy's fatal illness to the real reason Brick became an alcoholic and lost all affection for Margaret. Williams, being a controversial writer, slowly starts to later bring these issues to light, just as his intentions are in getting the theme across. The whole play is spent establishing secrets with the reader that are driving the characters to be so distressed, but none of the characters know truly, which is what the quote suggests in relation to the text. The secrets are ruining relationships and "festering" inside each character, eating them alive with guilt. Just like the universal metaphor of the "cat on a hot tin roof", this quote compares one of the text's central ideas to being burned. Keeping the truth secret is only torment to a smart soul.
     The work's true essential reality is the presence of the all-natural truth. If one chooses to hide the truth, the one and all parties involved will end up burned, no matter the controversy.

Word Count: 300

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