A Streetcar Named Desire

Stanley Kowalski Character Analysis

Stella’s husband, is full of raw strength, ferocity, violent masculinity, and animal magnetism. He wears lurid colors and parades his physicality, stripping off sweaty shirts and smashing objects throughout the play. His extreme virility is a direct contrast to Blanche’s homosexual husband who committed suicide. Stanley loves Stella––she is the soft, feminine foil to his violent ways. Their connection is indeed, as Blanche says derisively, “sub-human”: their physical relationship creates a deep bond between them. However, Stanley is drawn to Blanche, and in the play’s climax, he rapes her while Stella is in the hospital having the baby.

Stanley Kowalski Quotes in A Streetcar Named Desire

The A Streetcar Named Desire quotes below are all either spoken by Stanley Kowalski or refer to Stanley Kowalski. 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:
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New Directions edition of A Streetcar Named Desire published in 2004.
Scene 1 Quotes

Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go? I let the place go? Where were you! In bed with your–Polack!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Since earliest manhood the center of [Stanley’s] life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens.

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 2 Quotes

I never met a woman that didn’t know if she was good-looking or not without being told, and some of them give themselves credit for more than they’ve got.

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker)
Related Symbols: Bathing
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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Now let’s cut the re-bop!

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker)
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Oh, I guess he’s just not the type that goes for jasmine perfume, but maybe he’s what we need to mix with our blood now that we’ve lost Belle Reve.

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 3 Quotes

STELL-LAHHHHH!

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Stella Kowalski
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 4 Quotes

There are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark–that sort of make everything else seem–unimportant.

Related Characters: Stella Kowalski (speaker), Stanley Kowalski
Related Symbols: Shadows
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Don’t–don’t hang back with the brutes!

Related Characters: Blanche DuBois (speaker), Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 9 Quotes

I told you already I don’t want none of his liquor and I mean it. You ought to lay off his liquor. He says you’ve been lapping it up all summer like a wild-cat!

Related Characters: Harold Mitchell (Mitch) (speaker), Blanche DuBois, Stanley Kowalski
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 10 Quotes

Tiger–tiger! Drop the bottle-top! Drop it! We’ve had this date with each other from the beginning!

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Blanche DuBois
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Drunkenness
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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Scene 11 Quotes

You left nothing here but spilt talcum and old empty perfume bottles–unless it’s the paper lantern you want to take with you. You want the lantern?

Related Characters: Stanley Kowalski (speaker), Blanche DuBois
Related Symbols: Paper Lantern and Paper Moon
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

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Stanley Kowalski Character Timeline in A Streetcar Named Desire

The timeline below shows where the character Stanley Kowalski appears in A Streetcar Named Desire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Fantasy and Delusion Theme Icon
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Masculinity and Physicality Theme Icon
Femininity and Dependence Theme Icon
...and the river in New Orleans. The neighborhood is poor but has a “raffish charm.” Stanley and Stella Kowalski live in the downstairs flat, and Steve and Eunice live upstairs. The... (full context)
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Eunice and a Negro Woman are sitting on the front stoop when Stanley and Mitch come around the corner. Stanley bellows for Stella, and when she comes out... (full context)
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Blanche worries that Stanley will not like her and that she will have no privacy from him in the... (full context)
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...plans for poker the following evening. Blanche nervously flutters around the apartment as they speak. Stanley enters, exuding raw, animalistic, sexual energy, and he sizes Blanche up at a glance. Stanley... (full context)
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Stanley pulls off his sweaty shirt in front of Blanche, asking her about being an English... (full context)
Scene 2
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...day, at six o’clock in the evening. Blanche is taking a bath offstage. Stella tells Stanley that she and Blanche are going out to the French Quarter for the evening since... (full context)
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Stanley turns the subject back to the loss of Belle Reve. Insistent on seeing papers from... (full context)
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Stanley thrusts open Blanche’s trunk and digs through her clothes, searching for the bill of sale.... (full context)
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...in a red satin robe and lightly closes the curtains to dress. When she asks Stanley to do up the buttons in the back of her dress, he gruffly brushes her... (full context)
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Stanley breaks the banter by yelling bluntly, “Now let’s cut the re-bop!” Stella rushes in to... (full context)
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Blanche hands Stanley all the papers from Belle Reve, and he realizes that that the estate was indeed... (full context)
Scene 3
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...the men barely look up. When Stella suggests that they stop playing for the night, Stanley slaps a hand on her thigh, and Stella, offended, goes into to the bedroom with... (full context)
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...in silhouette. Blanche says that Mitch seems “superior to the others,” and Stella says that Stanley is the only one likely to move up in the world. (full context)
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Stanley yells at Blanche and Stella to be quiet. Blanche turns on the radio, but Stanley... (full context)
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...Stella, and she asks Mitch to hang a Chinese lantern over the naked electric bulb. Stanley, in the kitchen, seethes at Mitch’s absence from the game. (full context)
Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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...bathroom, Blanche turns the radio back on, and she and Mitch clumsily begin to dance. Stanley leaps from the table and throws the radio out the window. Stella yells at him,... (full context)
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The men force Stanley under the shower to sober him up, but as he continues to lash out at... (full context)
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...Mitch appears and tells her not to worry, that this is just the nature of Stanley and Stella’s relationship. He offers her a cigarette, and she thanks him for his kindness. (full context)
Scene 4
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...is relieved to find Stella safe, but horrified that she has spent the night with Stanley. Stella explains that Stanley gets into violent moods sometimes, but she likes him the way... (full context)
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...says that she is broke, and Stella gives her five dollars of the ten that Stanley had given her that morning as an apology. (full context)
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Stella says that Blanche saw Stanley at his worst, but Blanche replies that she saw him at his best. Blanche claims... (full context)
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Blanche bursts into a rant against Stanley, calling him an ape-like, bestial creature. “There’s even something––sub-human” about him, she cries, telling Stella,... (full context)
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Under the cover of a train’s noise, Stanley slips out and re-enters. Stella leaps into his arms, and Stanley grins at Blanche as... (full context)
Scene 5
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A while later, Stanley comes in and says that Eunice is getting a drink at the Four Deuces, which... (full context)
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Stanley and Blanche make tense conversation: she attempts to banter lightly, while he is more than... (full context)
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Stanley asks if Blanche knows anyone named Shaw in Laurel. Blanche blanches, but tries not to... (full context)
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...glass, insisting that she likes waiting on her sister. Blanche hysterically promises to leave before Stanley kicks her out. Stella tries to calm her as she pours the Coke, but accidentally... (full context)
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...she sees him as her way to rest and to get out of Stella and Stanley’s apartment. (full context)
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Stanley comes around the corner and bellows for Eunice, Steve, and Stella. Stella tells Blanche that... (full context)
Scene 6
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When Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are, Blanche explains that they are out with Eunice and Steve. Mitch suggests... (full context)
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Blanche launches into a somewhat hysterical rant against Stanley, and also bemoans her impoverished state. Mitch interrupts to ask how old she is. Blanche... (full context)
Scene 7
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It is an afternoon in mid-September. Stanley comes into the kitchen to find Stella decorating for Blanche’s birthday. Blanche is taking yet... (full context)
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Stanley sits Stella down to tell her all the details he has heard about Blanche. Shaw,... (full context)
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Stanley also reports that Blanche was not taking a leave of absence from school on account... (full context)
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Stella is dazed. At first, she doesn’t believe Stanley, making the excuse that Blanche has always been “flighty.” She explains away some of Blanche’s... (full context)
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Stanley says that he has bought a one-way bus ticket for Blanche to go back to... (full context)
Scene 8
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Stanley, Stella, and Blanche are finishing the dismal birthday supper. There is an empty fourth place... (full context)
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...phone to call Mitch, even though Stella tells her not to. Stella goes out to Stanley on the porch, and he holds her in his arms, telling her that things will... (full context)
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Stella goes inside and begins lighting the candles on Blanche’s birthday cake. Blanche and Stanley join her. Blanche reproaches herself for calling Mitch. Stanley complains about the heat from Blanche’s... (full context)
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The telephone rings, and Blanche expects that it is Mitch, but it is one of Stanley’s friends. When Stanley returns, he tells Blanche that he has a birthday present for her... (full context)
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...to smile and laugh, but she crumples and rushes into the bathroom, gagging. Stella reproaches Stanley for treating Blanche so harshly, saying that Blanche is a soft creature who has been... (full context)
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Stella demands to know why Stanley has been so cruel to Blanche. He says that Stella thought that he was common... (full context)
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A sudden change comes over Stella, and she tells Stanley to take her to the hospital––she has gone into labor. Stanley instantly leaves with her,... (full context)
Scene 9
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...turn off the fan. She offers him a drink. Mitch says that he doesn’t want Stanley’s liquor, but Blanche replies that she has her own. She wants to know what is... (full context)
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...that she doesn’t know what Southern Comfort is. Mitch again refuses a drink, saying that Stanley says she has been drinking his liquor all summer. (full context)
Scene 10
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Stanley enters the apartment, slams the door, and gives a low whistle when he sees Blanche.... (full context)
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Stanley asks Blanche why she is so dressed up. Blanche says that an admirer of hers,... (full context)
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Unable to find a bottle opener, Stanley pounds a beer bottle on the corner of the table and lets the foam pour... (full context)
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...a cultivated gentleman, as opposed to the “swine” she has been casting her pearls to. Stanley’s good humor suddenly disappears at the word “swine.” (full context)
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Blanche claims that Mitch had arrived that night with roses to beg her forgiveness. Stanley asks if Mitch came before or after the telegram, and Blanche is caught off guard.... (full context)
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Stanley mocks Blanche for dressing up in her glitzy attire, saying that he’s been on to... (full context)
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...telegraph Shep, saying that she is “caught in a trap,” but she breaks off when Stanley emerges from the bedroom in the silk pyjamas. (full context)
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Stanley grins at Blanche and replaces the phone on the hook. He steps between Blanche and... (full context)
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Stanley continues to advance toward Blanche. She smashes a bottle on the table and waves the... (full context)
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The bottle top falls. Blanche sinks to her knees. Stanley picks up her limp body and carries her to the bed. A hot trumpet and... (full context)
Scene 11
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...where the atmosphere is raw and lurid again. Eunice comes downstairs and into the apartment. Stanley is bragging about his good poker luck, and Eunice calls the men callous pigs. (full context)
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Upon hearing Blanche’s voice, Mitch’s face and arms sag, and he lapses into a daydream. Stanley yells at him to snap out of it. The sound of Stanley’s voice startles Blanche.... (full context)
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...all stand tensely for a moment. Blanche tries to go back into the bedroom, but Stanley blocks her way. She rushes past him, claiming that she has forgotten something. Lurid reflections... (full context)
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The Doctor sends the Matron in to grab Blanche. The Matron advances on one side, Stanley on the other. The Matron and Stanley’s voice echo around the room. Blanche retreats in... (full context)
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Stanley says that the only thing Blanche could have forgotten is the paper lantern. He rips... (full context)
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Stanley joins Stella on the porch. She starts to sob “with inhuman abandon,” and he holds... (full context)