Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Charles Edelman


This thesis explores the characterisation of motherhood within the plays of American playwright. Tennessee Williams. A central part to my argument is that these mothers are abandoned and left alone because of their own personal complexities. After investigating the life of Edwina Dakin Williams and the influence that she had on her son's life and work. I will proceed to examine the nature of the mother in the Following plays: • The Glass MenagerieThe Rose Tattoo Battle of Angels Orpheus Descending • Suddenly Last Summer. All of the plays are “major” works of the writer, with the exception of Battle of Angels which was produced before Williams was an established playwright. In particular, I will explore the 'clinging' characteristic that is common in all the mothers discussed in this thesis. I will examine how the mother ''clings” to her children and loved ones as a means of affirming her past life, and denying her difficult present life. Whether clinging to their children for means of affirming love, or feeling less alone, or wanting vengeance, these women all reveal a negative manifestation or the Williams mother.