Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

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Author: Jere Huzzard
Editor: David M. Galens
Date: 1998
From: Drama for Students(Vol. 3)
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 828 words

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Huzzard examines sex roles in Williams's play. The critic's primary theme is that of the sexual ambivalence that the male characters that feel toward the female characters, particularly Brick and Big Daddy as they respond to their respective, spouses.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is, among other related themes, clearly a play about the sexual ambivalence of males toward females. Even the minor characters for whom little or no conflict is presented, are to various degrees or in various ways epicene in nature; the preacher humorously so; the two former owners of the plantation (while they lived) openly and complacently so; and Brick's older brother and foil, shielded by his maternalistic wife's appalling (to Maggie at least) fertility, unconsciously so. (Witness how his and his wife's laments over Big Mamma's lack of affection for him are bluntly explained by the mother: “Gooper never liked Daddy”). Add to this revelation the at least rough similarity between Big Mamma's and Mae's deficient emotional and intellectual development, and Gooper, for what it matters, can be seen as a typically Oedipal son in an obliviously blissful marriage to a woman redolent of his mother if possibly more affectionate.

But there is far more substantial motivation in the play for Big...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420021143