Freudian approaches to Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

About this essay

I will talk about how Freudian theory connect the issues including in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Sigmund Freud the creator of psychoanalysis came up with a theory of the unconscious mind, he identified that sexual desires are the primary motivational energy of human life. William reveals this in play by Margaret’s sexual desires for Brick keeps her energy up and gets her to keep trying to get Brick’s love.

Huge Daddy and Big Mother have fears and anxieties about Margaret and Bricks absence of children, therefore does Margaret herself since she desires a share of the plantation.

Nevertheless this does not worry Mae and Gooper who are more than happy that they are prime candidates to become the owner of the plantation, Mae specifically delight in sneer at the reality that Margaret is childless “Mae: she’s childless since that huge gorgeous athlete of hers won’t go to bed with her” (97 ). The family especially Big Daddy and Maggie have doubts about Brick’s sexuality and try to challenge him about it.

Get quality help now
Bella Hamilton
Bella Hamilton
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Cat

star star star star 5 (234)

“ Very organized ,I enjoyed and Loved every bit of our professional interaction ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Brick: “You believe that me and Skipper were a pair of dirty old men?” (pg 77).

Meaning absolutely displayed in ‘Feline on a Hot Tin Roofing System’, Bricks crutch can symbolise that he requires assistance, “Brick: no simply give me my crutch” (27 ). The crutch can be seen as sign that Brick is weak without skipper hence needs support. But it can likewise represent the fact that Brick has lost his masculinity ‘Brick: I’m getting softer Maggie’ (pg 31) and the crutch is his masculinity for this reason why he can not go anywhere without it.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

The alcohol symbolises that Brick is trying to get away reality by making himself unconscious or in his words the ‘click’ which he states to be when he is peaceful with himself. However the excessive drinking by Brick can also mean that Brick can not cope without Skipper.

Repression of homosexuality in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ties in with Sigmund Freud ideology, as Brick represses his feeling towards Skipper Brick: “I had friendship with Skipper – you are naming it dirty!” (pg 42).Repression is a defence mechanism and there are two stages, firstly the desires are pushed out from conscious into unconscious but this does not work for Brick as his feeling still surface. So the second line of defence is started this is where Brick is at in the book. Williams shows Brick as being reluctant to come out about his sexuality because he is brought up in an upper class family.

One type of second line defence is overcompensation which is when a weakness is covered up by overcompensating on something else, in Bricks case is excessive sport. Then comes projection which is when you blame someone else; Brick blames “Maggie(79)” because she got “the idea (79)” that Brick and Skipper relationship was abnormal and that one reason why Skipper committed suicide. Then comes denial when protecting you from unpleasant reality which is seen in Brick as he tries to deny the truth when Big Daddy talks about it. Brick “YOU THINK SO TOO? You think me an skipper did sodomy”(77). Brick tries to justify it was Maggie who put dirty things into Skipper minding doubting himself about his sexuality, Brick trying to repress any arguments down to Margaret being jealous.

Brick comes from an upper-class family who are highly respected from other people. The time when the story was set (1955) was a time when homosexuals were looked down upon and brought shame to their family.

Brick is from a rich family, so he hides his sexuality so not to embarrass himself or his family, and marries Maggie to show that he is a man and tries to show his masculinity by being an athlete.

Death features massively in the play, especially for Big Daddy who has cancer yet has been lied to by the family saying that he has a spastic colon. Big Daddy is also in denial because he himself knows everything is not alright because of the pain yet is putting a front on. Big Daddy and Big Mama have been told that he does not have cancer when he does and the only people that know are Mae and Gooper and Brick and Maggie. Big Mama is told her husband still has cancer later, but she says “it’s all a mistake” (93).

Skipper is dead which makes Brick angry and blames his wife for the death. Margaret say is begging for Brick attention when she says “Skipper is dead! I am alive!”, but Brick does not want to believe that Skipper is dead “I tried to kill your Aunt Maggie, but I failed.”

Brick definitely does not love Maggie and is shown in different way for example[She kisses Brick on the mouth which he immediately wipes with the back of his hand, (55pg).Bricks sexual desire keep surfacing no matter how much he is trying to suppress, so he tries to get his manhood back by jumping hurdles at the school athletic field but ends up fracturing his ankle. It shows that Brick is weak and helpless without Skipper. But also can be also interpreted to show Freud theory of sexual desires becomes energy for human life.

Freud theory can relate to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof because unconscious and sexual desire relate to the character Brick who is trying to suppress his abnormal feeling from conscious to unconscious. In addition there is fear of death by Big Daddy and there are sexual desires.

Cite this page

Freudian approaches to Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (2017, Aug 01). Retrieved from

Freudian approaches to Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment