Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Ambiguity, Mendacity, and Language

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Ambiguity, Menda and Language Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams has one main ambiguity; Brick’s sexuality. The reality of Brick’s sexuality is hard to establish especially considering that other characters in the play regard him not as a homosexual although there is a possibility that his personal desires are repressed. Skipper, although not, in fact, established to be, appears to be homosexual. Skipper’s closeness with Brick makes Maggie that he is homosexual even as the latter manages to convince the former of his sexuality. At the end of the play, it remains unclear whether Brick will concede to go to bed with Maggie so as to get her pregnant (Williams, 2004).
William’s use of language makes the ambiguity in the play quite evident. In his description of Brick, he notes that the “brick” of a man had “enviable coolness” that was driven by repression – the repression that at bay kept his desires. Brick refers to homosexuals as “queers”, “fairies” and “dirty old men” and emphasizes that his relationship with Skinner was nothing sexual but “deep, deep friendship . . . clean and decent” (Williams, 2004, p. 122).
The theme of mendacity is quite evident in the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Lies abound as can be seen in various characters’ conversations and thoughts (Novel Guide, 2011, par 1). In certain cases, characters disbelieve some statements that they are told thereby believing that they are lies. Big Daddy claims that he is disgusted with his past lies. He probes Brick in regard to his relationship with Skinner insisting that “Then there is at least two people that never lied to each other” (Williams, 2004, p. 113). By using this lie, the ambiguity that relates to Brick’s sexuality is almost dissolved with Brick revealing some facts about his relationship with Skinner.
Novel Guide (2011) Cat On A Hot Tin Roof: Theme Analysis. Retrieved 8 November, 2011
Williams, T. (2004) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. New Directions Publishing Corporation.

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