Cat on a hot tin roof is a tragicomedy. There is a deep meaning shielded by bits and pieces of humor which best symbolizes how actual day to day activities come to pass. In every day life we will laugh about things that hurt in order to keep an experience of normalcy. An example of this is when Big Daddy calls out the minister on his obvious attempt to gain assets for the church. The key issues faced in Cat on a hot tin roof are homosexuality, control, love and facing death. Brick, which is an appropriate name for him considering he is a brick of a man, is an alcoholic who will not face the fact that he has homosexual desires. He is the atypical American man, the personification of the American dream if you will. A football star who has a ridiculous amount of money through his father, a wealthy plantation owner. Brick has a history of not accepting they way things are. After not making it to the pros he and his “friend” created a football team in order to deny the realization that they were not good enough.
As in most dramas there is a lot of symbolism. The most profound that I came across was when Mamma and Maggie were arguing over what went wrong in the marriage between Maggie and Brick. Mamma points to the bed and states that the bed is the problem.
At first I took it at face value as though the problem was that Brick wasn’t “getting any” but later we find out that the bed they slept on was the same one shared by the two gay lovers that previously owned the plantation. Also the title, “Cat on a hot tin roof”, the characters within the play are constantly torn between continuing to hide the secrets they keep, or confessing which would mean certain exile.
Big Daddy and Brick are so similar there is no way that they would be able to coexist with one another. Both are cold and calm as far as appearance is concerned, but both have a guard that no one can penetrate unless by the other. An example of this is when Big Daddy trys to have a heart to heart with his son. Even though he appears to have his guard down they really don’t have a conversation until Brick trys to leave, then they get to the more important issues.
Brick and Big Daddy also treat there woman the same. Big Daddy says for the last how ever many years he has wanted to find a different lover because he has never enjoyed having sex with his wife. The same goes for Brick as he said he was made to marry Maggie and uses the imagery of two cats humping on a fence post. It took the fact that Brick was drunk and Big Daddy was on his death bed to finally initiate a conversation of importance between the two.
Though the play hit controversial topics and had a little bit of humor I was not a big fan of it. One of main arguments was every thing was so jumbled and clustered together. It wasn’t as if there many underlying plots or anything, it was the way the story was put together that made it an agitating read. For example when Maggie is trying to have a conversation with brick, why the croquet out side or the screaming of the children.
I can see where it might be important that the other brother is discussing the matter of his fathers death and the fact that nether of them seemed to concerned with the actual death but for the money, but all in all the are just too many distractions. Also with all the stage directions it was hard for me to imagine anything. When I read a book or play I want to be able to allow my imagination to run wild with it. It is amazing how a book or play becomes your own if you are allowed to play with it in your mind.
Courtney from Study Moose
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