Tennessee Williams Writing Styles in Orpheus Descending

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Imagery

The principal imagery in the play is that of birds and wild animals. Both are symbols of freedom. The bird image first appears in Val's extended poetic speech in act 1, scene 2, in which he tells Lady there is a kind of tiny, almost weightless bird that has no legs and so spends its entire life flying. Since these birds are the color of the sky, they are transparent and are invisible to the hawks: "[T]hey live their whole life on the wing, and they sleep on the wind . . . they just spread their wings and go to sleep and . . . never light on this earth but one time when they die!" The image suggests a kind of freedom, to which human life may aspire but not be able to reach. Lady, who knows that such a bird exists only in Val's imagination, responds, "I don't think nothing living has...

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This section contains 898 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Orpheus Descending Study Guide
Copyrights
Drama for Students
Orpheus Descending from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.