Cat on the Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams’ Cat on the Tin Roof is a drama that explores societal problems such as gender, sexual attraction, and moral decline. It tells the story of a family in the South that is facing a dilemma as a result of a loss of spouse affection. Brick and Margret are dating, but their relationship is deteriorating due to a lack of affection and intimacy (Williams 32). The narrative is full of tension caused by a lack of family loyalty and lies, which appear to trigger breakups. William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof address coping issues such as noise, frustration, and shouting, among others. However, communication is tied closely to gender roles and the drama can be read effectively if its characters are looked at along lines of gender.
The drama elaborates certain fantasies of human’s weaknesses heightened by sexual desires and gender identity. For instance, Maggie’s life is bitter because of her desire for sexual intimacy with Brick and and his failure to be intimate with her. The play also reveals gender expectations of various characters such as Brick who fails in his role as a hsband to Maggie. He is a homosexual an issue, which leads to his weakness and cruelty towards his wife. To solve his problems, Brick drinks liquor to escape from daily stress since he believes that he can have peace after sipping some alcohol. Traditionally he cannot be considered masculine because of his habits such as alcoholism and selfishness. His broken ankle represents his emasculated impotence since he fails to believe that his wife and father can accept his homosexual status. He prejudices and disgusts himself for being in love with Skipper but still felt guilty about his few sexual acts with him. The play reveals the level of moral decay in the society as characters struggle to atisfy their sexual desires and life fantasies. Maggie suffers to know that Brick does not love her “Living with someone you love can be lonelier–than living entirely alone!–if the one that y’ love doesn’t love you” (11). Therefore, the behavior of Brick reveals a society that ignores the needs of women especially sexual needs which angers his wife a lot.
Gender issues are very evident in the play as characters try to identify with masculinity or femininity status due to their different desires. The cat represents a femininity fantasy desire played by Maggie. She is very lonely, a state that has made her a cat, bitter, and anxious. She is bound to unloving man, Brick who despises her yet she longs for him. He challenges her gender and behaves immaturely yet he is aware of her sexual needs, which she displays. For instance, she says to Big Mama “why don’t you ask if he makes me happy in bed?’ (35). This shows that she is not a good woman according to the traditions since she violates the patriarchal sexual norm of her society. Maggie only values her sexual needs but cannot convince her husband to make love to her. In this case, he fails to be sexually attractive to her man and the two cannot fulfill their gender roles since they do not have a child. One expression of woman femininity is by her ability to bear children while masculinity is expressed by man’s capability to sire kids. Maggie seems to live a double life since when in public, he acts as a good wife and daughter in law but in private, she is a bitter wife to Brick and deeply wounded. The feminist in Mae and Maggie is manifested as they try to win the affection of Big Daddy and desire for his inheritance. The portrayal of women in the play shows that they are dependent creatures who should live according to the societal norms. They are supposed to endure marriage even if they are not happy since divorce is not permitted. For instance, Maggie suffers because Brick cannot love her or be intimate with her. Despite the undergoing abuse from her husband, she still sticks to him, loves him, and wants to have his child.
The role of gender in the society is very clear in the play as broughtout by various characters.The society in the 1950s considered enduring women as more beautiful and Maggie is one of such women. The society also treated women such as Maggie like outcasts for not having children. Maggie’s husband is not interested in siring kids with her “Just how in hell on earth do you imagine that you’re going to have a child by a man that can’t stand you?” (36). This is an indication that Brick has no plan for his family and cannot have children with his wife. She experiences hostility from others such as Mae and is considered as mockery to Big Mama. Women are fight for their sexual rights in the play contrary to the society expectations and represent the voice to gender equality. Sex should be equal for both men and women instead of being a man’s privilege. Big Mama is a woman who is concerned about her family’s future although her husband despises her. However, unlike Brick and Maggie she has children but does not help Maggie in her family issues. The two, big Mama, and Maggie stand by their abusive husbands as they fight to make their marriages work. Mae is immoral, materialistic, and does n care about other people’s well-being except her children. She degrades other women and reminds them of the things they are lacking. For instance, she rebukes Maggie for not having children hurting her inner feelings. William tries to be quite accurate in the manner in which he portrays women in the 1950s when they were discovering their sexuality. The evolution of sexually is well portrayed in the play defining gender expectations by the society that valued men more than women. Although other issues are very clear in the play, gender identity in the society is very clear as men and women explore ways of satisfying sexual and other desires.
In conclusion, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a popular drama based on the family dynamics and gender orientation. Maggie plays a sympathetic role in which she brings out the troubled relationship she has with her husband, Brick. Themes of femininity and masculinity are clear as each gender tries to find freedom and explore sexuality. Big Daddy is a dying man but rich. However, he finds himself surrounded by people of different traits each trying to express feelings and find happiness. Brick and his father are unable to show love for their spouses yet the latter shower them with great love. They lack devotion to their wives and refuse to be intimate with them, which bring great pain to their lives. Gender roles in the society are very evident in the drama and characters are trying ways of making their lives more enjoyable.

Work Cited
Williams, Tennessee. Cat on a hot tin roof. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014. Print.

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