Cat On Hot Tin Roof By Williams

The dominant morality in Tennessee Williams’ "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" can
not be discussed in terms of a single, easy-to-understand theme. Rather, I
detected a number of disturbing themes in this play which, unfortunately, also
seem to be present in our modern society. These themes explain much of the
behavior we see today, both in our elected officials and in our own private
lives. They include the willingness to engage in back-stabbing and flattery to
get what we want, the attempt to escape reality by indulging in alcohol and
drugs, the tendency for married couples to remaining together in meaningless or
even violent relationships, and the tendency of people who become materially
wealthy to turn into total jackasses. One of the most obvious moral conflicts in

"Cat on a Hot Tin roof" is visible in the campaign by Gooper and Mae to gain
the favor of Big Daddy, while at the same time discrediting Brick and Margaret.

They try to twist the facts in order to portray themselves to Big Daddy as the
most qualified heirs for the inheritance. For instance, they try to imply that
just because they have five children (with a sixth on the way), they are
therefore responsible family people who will take good care of the plantation.

At the same time, they cleverly argue that because Brick and Margaret have no
children, they would not be responsible in managing a large estate. Gooper and

Mae act as a public relations team, flattering Big Daddy while tearing down
their competitors at every opportunity. The excel in back-stabbing and flattery,
yet they are always careful to maintain the appearance of being polite and
civilized. To a lesser extent, we also see the same theme of hypocritical
behavior on the part of Reverend Tooker and Doctor Baugh, both of whom engage in
flattering Big Daddy in the hopes that he will include them in his will. I
don’t think we have to look very far in our own world to see the consequences
of a society which approves of back-stabbing and flattery as a way of "getting
ahead." All the world’s newspaper headlines are full of stories on a daily
basis of politicians and other individuals in positions of responsibility who
abuse and betray the people who count on them. And along with the growth of
professional liars (politicians) we’ve also seen an explosive growth in
numbers of lawyers whose job, of course, is to write lots of "fine print" to
hold each of us accountable, because nobody’s word of honor means anything any
more. Another dominant moral theme in this play, is the willingness of married
partners to exploit and hurt each other. We see this unhealthy attitude toward
marriage between Brick and Margaret. For instance, Brick reminds Margaret that
they are living together only because she has agreed that they do so in name
only. When Margaret complains that this sort of phony relationship is not what
marriage should be all about, Brick coldly suggests that she go out and have an
affair to keep herself sexually satisfied. Margaret, to her credit, is not
willing to pursue this sort of shallow relationship. She tells him that she
wishes to have a normal sexual and loving relationship with him, but that until
that time she would prefer to remain "a cat on a hot tin roof," being
frustrated and angry with the whole situation but hopeful that things will
change. Brick, however, as in the case of so many alcoholic wife-abusers, does
not appreciate the devoted mate he has in Margaret. He is bitter and cold, and
expresses his amazement that Margaret could possibly want to have a child with a
man who hates her. However, amazingly, Margaret stays with him in spite of his
abuse. In the real world today, we also see many relationships in which couples
do not show each other the respect they should. Men continue to batter and abuse
women, and society doesn’t seems to really care. On the other hand, many
married women feel helpless or financially dependent and so they stay married to
total jerks, hoping against hope that they can "change him". Certainly
another dominant morality we see in Williams’ play is the unwise choice to
escape the challenges of life by indulging in alcohol. This is typified in the
behavior of Brick, a former sports hero who has become an alcoholic and is now
presently on crutches because of an accident he suffered while drunk. When
confronted with a life situation that disturbs him, Brick