Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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Big Daddy Character Analysis

Big Daddy is Brick’s father. He’s aggressive, rich, and can be brutally mean, admitting that he’s never cared for anyone in his life except for Brick. He never much cared for Big Mama, and would prefer to chase women. He regrets that money can buy anything, except more life. He believes the health report that says he’s going to live, until Brick reveals the secret that he has cancer.

Big Daddy Quotes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof quotes below are all either spoken by Big Daddy or refer to Big Daddy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Lies Theme Icon
).
Act 1 Quotes

Hell, do they ever know it? Nobody says, "You're dying." You have to fool them. They have to fool themselves.

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Big Daddy

Born poor, raised poor, expect to die poor unless I manage to get us something out of what Big Daddy leaves when he dies of cancer!

Related Characters: Margaret (speaker), Brick, Big Daddy
Act 2 Quotes

Jumping the hurdles, Big Daddy, runnin' and jumpin' the hurdles, but those high hurdles have gotten too high for me, now.

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Big Daddy

And I did, I did so much, I did love you!—I even loved your hate and your hardness, Big Daddy!

[…]

Wouldn't it be funny if that was true…

Related Characters: Big Mama (speaker), Big Daddy (speaker)

Think of all the lies I got to put up with! Ain't that mendacity? Having to pretend stuff you don't think or feel or have any idea of? Having for instance to act like I care for Big Mama!—I haven't been able to stand the sight, sound, or smell of that woman for forty years now!—even when I laid her!

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker), Big Mama

I'll smother her in—minks! Ha Ha! I'll strip her naked and smother her in minks and choke her with diamonds and smother her with minks and hump her from hell to breakfast.

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)

I think the reason he buys everything he can buy is that in the back of his mind he has the crazy hopes that one of his purchases will be life everlasting!—Which it never can be….

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)

Why is it so damn hard for people to talk?

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)

Why are you so anxious to shut me up?

Well, sir, every so often you say to me, Brick, I want to have a talk with you, but when we talk, it never materializes. Nothing is said. […] Communication is—awful hard between people an'—somehow between you and me, it just don't—

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Big Daddy (speaker)

We talk, you talk, in—circles! We get nowhere, nowhere! It's always the same, you say you want to talk to me and don't have a ruttin' thing to say to me!

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Big Daddy

You been passing the buck. This disgust with mendacity is disgust with yourself. You!—you dug the grave of your friend and kicked him in it!—before you'd face the truth with him!

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker), Brick

Maybe that's why you put Maggie and me in this room that was Jack Straw's and Peter Ochello's, in which that pair of old sisters slept in a double bed where both of 'em died!

Related Characters: Brick (speaker), Margaret, Big Daddy

Yes, boy. I'll tell you something that you might not guess. I still have desire for women and this is my sixty-fifth birthday.

Related Characters: Big Daddy (speaker)
Act 3 Quotes

Oh, Brick, son of Big Daddy! Big Daddy does so love you! Y’know what would be his fondest dream come true? If before he passed on, if Big Daddy has to pass on, you gave him a child of yours, a grandson as much like his son as his son is like Big Daddy!

Related Characters: Big Mama (speaker), Brick, Big Daddy
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Big Daddy Character Timeline in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The timeline below shows where the character Big Daddy appears in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Death Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
Margaret says that Mae and Gooper aim to cut Brick out of Big Daddy’s estate, now that they have a report confirming that Big Daddy is dying of cancer.... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
However, Margaret says that Brick still has one big advantage— Big Daddy dotes on him and dislikes Gooper and Mae. Margaret also suspects that Big Daddy has... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
...keep her voice down if he agrees to make this drink his last until after Big Daddy’s birthday party, which Brick has forgotten about. She tries to get Brick to sign a... (full context)
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
...as Margaret puts away the bow. Mae tells Brick about her children’s musical performance for Big Daddy after supper, and Margaret asks why Mae’s children all have dogs’ names—Dixie, Trixie, Buster, Sonny,... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Mama says she has wonderful news about Big Daddy . Margaret opens the door while Brick hobbles into the bathroom, but Big Mama meanwhile... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Mama yells for Brick again and then discloses that the results of Big Daddy’s health report were all negative—he’s in fine condition, save for a “spastic colon.” Big Mama... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
...he wouldn’t have a cent to pay for it except for what he gets from Big Daddy , who’s dying of cancer anyway. Brick looks surprised and says that Big Mama reported... (full context)
Act 2
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
A group enters, with Big Daddy in the lead, followed by Reverend Tooker and Gooper, who are discussing memorials. Big Daddy... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
...Brick and flops down on the couch, pulling the reverend onto her as a joke. Big Daddy bellows at her to stop joking around, and Big Mama signals the cue for the... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
...about the wonderful results of the health report. Margaret interjects, asking Brick whether he’s given Big Daddy his birthday present yet. Gooper bets that Brick doesn’t know what the present is, while... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
As the atmosphere in the room grows uncomfortable, Big Daddy turns to Brick and asks what he was doing on the high school track field... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy says that he’s tired of Big Mama trying to take over because she thought he... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
Big Daddy asks to speak to Brick, and Margaret delivers him, exiting onto the gallery with a... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy hears a sound from the bedroom and asks who’s there. Mae appears by the gallery... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy tells Brick that Mae and Gooper have reported that Brick won’t sleep with Margaret. He... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the clock chimes, and Brick remarks on how pleasant the chiming sound is. Big Daddy says that he and Big Mama bought the clock on their European tour. Big Daddy... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Brick pours himself another drink and informs Big Daddy that he’s talking a lot tonight. Brick says that he prefers "solid quiet" and asks... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy announces to Brick that he’s contemplating "pleasure with women." He says that he slept with... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
As Big Daddy goes back to contemplating pleasure with women, talking about how he plans to use his... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy yells at him to stay, and Big Mama rushes in to see what all the... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
The children start chanting that they want Big Daddy , and Gooper appears in the gallery door to ask him to come and see... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
Big Daddy informs Brick that that’s not living. He says that he couldn’t decide who to make... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
Big Daddy suggests that Brick goes back to sports announcing, but Brick responds that he hates to... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
Brick yells at Big Daddy for accusing him, his son, of being a queer. As Big Daddy denies this, Reverend... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
...asks why true friendship between two men can’t be respected as something pure and decent. Big Daddy once again says that it’s hard to talk, but instead of letting it go, he... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Daddy continues to press Brick, believing that he purposefully left something out of the story. Finally,... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Brick says that no one— Big Daddy included—can face the truth. Brick blurts out that everyone but Big Daddy knows the truth... (full context)
Act 3
Lies Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Everyone but Brick trickles back into the room, calling for Big Daddy . Big Mama says that she believes Big Daddy has left because he was just... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...he tells Margaret to sit with her instead. Gooper and Mae reveal the news that Big Daddy actually does have cancer. In hysterics, Big Mama calls for Brick, her “only son.” This... (full context)
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
Wealth Theme Icon
...in avarice and greed. Gooper, furious, admits that he does, in fact, resent Brick and Big Daddy’s favoritism, but he knows enough to protect his own interests. Mae and Gooper grow increasingly... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Unrequited Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Memory, Nostalgia, Regret Theme Icon
...just like he did when he was a little boy. Big Mama tells Brick that Big Daddy’s fondest dream would be to have a grandson from Brick. Mae responds that it’s too... (full context)
Lies Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Difficulty of Communication Theme Icon
Big Mama rushes out to tell Big Daddy the news, while Mae screams that Margaret is lying about her pregnancy. Mae says that... (full context)