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Introduction & Overview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Summary & Study Guide Description

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams.

Introduction

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams's third significant play (following The Glass Menagerie [1944] and A Streetcar Named Desire [1947]), was a huge commercial success, running for 694 performances on Broadway. It won Williams his third New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and his second Pulitzer Prize (his first being for Streetcar). Elia Kazan produced and directed the play in 1955 at the Morosco Theatre, after asking Williams to revise the third act to improve its dramatic progression. The published play script includes both the original version and the one revised for Kazan, appended by a preface in which Williams defends his original version. He continued to prefer the original, even after making further changes for a 1974 revival.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is rather loosely based on Williams's short story "Three Players of a Summer Game," a narrative that reveals the influence of D. H. Lawrence on the playwright's early work. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, however, has all of the earmarks of Williams's unique dramas, involving as it does his emotionally biographical themes of ambivalence in sexual orientation, disaffection, and difficulty in maintaining intimate relationships. The play concerns a young man's disaffection and descent into alcoholism following the death of his college friend, and his wife's efforts to make him stop drinking so that he can take over his dying father's plantation.

Although criticized as being overly "violent" and maudlin, the powerful second act, in which the father, Big Daddy, confronts his alcoholic son. Brick, about the nature of his relationship with his friend. Skipper, is. considered a hallmark, of contemporary drama—Williams at his best. In that one long and vivid scene, the playwright portrays a profound relationship of mutual trust and respect, one that nevertheless fails to bridge the two men's weaknesses.

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This section contains 300 words
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Purchase our Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Study Guide
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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