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Orpheus Descending

People die and their hopes and dreams die together with them.


The play "Orpheus descending” isn’t full of different events. The main characters of the play are Lady Torrance, her husband Jabe Torrance, Val Xavier and many others. The author tries to describe the life of Lady Torrance. She is an Italian girl. Though she is very beautiful and clever, her life isn’t simple. Her dad was killed by her husband Jabe. And it seems that her happy and calm life is ended. But some time later she meets Val. This man falls in love with this young Lady.
It seems that these two young people try to think about their life, try to improve it in some way. They want to be free. They want their dreams to come true. But Lady’s husband Jabe doesn’t want to put up with this. He learns that Lady is pregnant. Then he decides to destroy this happiness. At the end of the play Jabe kills Lady Torrance and Val.
On the one hand we can see that the destiny gives her another chance to start her life over – now she can give a birth to a child and be happy with Val. But this "happiness” is not going to come true. The cruel world doesn’t let her reach her aims, follow all her principles. That is clear even at the beginning of the play that something bad will happen to the characters. Perhaps the author wants to show us that good doesn’t always win over evil. And she proves this at the end of the play. People die and their hopes and dreams die together with them.

Let pessimism be imposed on the readers!


Well, actually "Orpheus descending" was a rather complicated play for me to read, especially the first act. Very many characters, very many plot lines.
The main characters are Lady, Val and Jabe. Jabe is an antagonistic character of Val. Jabe is a killer, a racist, a criminal authority, so-to-say a rotten character.Val is an insignificant man. His heart is open, his soul is pure. He's able to love truly. So is Lady. They're eager to struggle for their dream. And they manage to do that ("I have life in my body, this dead tree, my body, has burst in flower!", "I've won, I've won, Mr. Death, I'm going to bear!") But the end of the play is tragic. Lady and Val die. This means that the cruel world has won over kindness and open-heartedness. But they died having fulfilled their aim. They weren't broken down by Life with its violent laws.
The play begins and ends with three deaths and a burnt garden. This frame construction is used by the author to show us that northing's changed. Maybe, I'm mistaken but I find the play very pessimistic.

Plain criticism


The play "Orpheus Descending” takes place in a dry goods store. There are many characters in the play, but the story underlines the life of 3 main characters – Lady, Val and Jabe.
Lady’s father was killed because of selling alcohol to blacks. Afterwards she marries Jabe, and in the end of the play we realize that Jabe was one of those who killed Lady’s father. At the same time she begins new relationships Val, a romantic singer and musician who works at the store.
The whole play seems to be a great allusion to the ancient myth about Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s easy to understand that Val is Orpheus.
Val and lady seem to be the only characters in the play who are free from social stereotypes. Their love is the only true love in the play. The world around them killed them. The\y failed to win a battle with it. Lady, obsessed with fury after realizing about who killed her father. Is rushing up the stairs and get killed by Jabe. Val is captured by the vehement mob and is tortured by them.
The end is quite predictable, and the reader knows beforehand that death is waiting for Lady and Val. It just can’t be any other way.
All in all "Orpheus Descending” is a play criticizing the society of the time, its stereotypes and injustices. Tennessee Williams skillfully reflects the peculiarities of his time at the background of a small town and two "heroes” struggling against the society. The tragic end should emphasize the attitude of the author to the world that he created just by copying the world he lived in.

My view of "Orpheus descending”


The first act wasn’t easy for me to read. There were many characters, themes, problems. I didn’t understand what the play is about. So, firstly, I don’t like it. When I read it to the end my impressions changed. There are 3 main characters in the play: Lady, her husband Jabe Torrance and Val Xavier. When Lady fell in love with Val we see is a tempting antidote to her loveless marriage and boring, small-town life. She lost her father, who was clear and kind person. And Jabe was among the men who killed him. She hates her husband, she wants his death. But when she comes to love with Val she acquires hope and faith that everything will change, become better. But she dies and her unborn child and unembodied hopes dies too.
To sum it up I want to say that the play deals with passion, its repression and its attempted recovery.
It also concerns race relations.


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