During Brick and Big Daddy’s major confrontation in Act II, Brick confesses that he drinks out of disgust with society’s pervasive “mendacity,” which he describes as the system in which people live. The system of lies he is referring to pertains to the way society represses and lies about “inadmissible things.” In the world of the play, there are two inadmissible things: homosexuality and death, and the action of the play resolves around the repression of Brick’s terror about and repression of his possibly homosexual feelings shared with Skipper and Big Daddy’s desire to escape death and the family’s lie about his health report.
These are not the only lies in the play, either. Mae and Gooper’s behavior during the negotiations also reveals holes in their relationship, despite their desperate façade to appear as a loving, functional unit. Big Mama lies to herself about Brick’s likelihood of transforming into a stable family man once he has a child. Finally, the entire play concludes with Margaret’s final lie when she claims that she is pregnant with Brick’s child. Even after telling this lie, however, Margaret remains in one sense the most honest character in the play, as she’s determined to make this her lie true.
Lies Quotes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Hell, do they ever know it? Nobody says, "You're dying." You have to fool them. They have to fool themselves.
Yes, I made my mistake when I told you the truth about that thing with Skipper. Never should have confessed it, a fatal error, tellin' you about that thing with Skipper.
One man has one great good true thing in his life. One great good thing which is true!—I had a friendship with Skipper.—You are naming it dirty!
In this way I destroyed him, by telling him truth that he and his world which he was born and raised in, yours and his world, had told him could not be told.
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!
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…
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!
No!—It was too rare to be normal, any true thing between two people is too rare to be normal.
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!
Maybe it's being alive that makes them lie, and being almost not alive makes me sort of accidentally truthful…
And so tonight we're going to make the lie true, and when that's done, I'll bring the liquor back here and we'll get drunk together, here, tonight, in this place that death has come into….