Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Overview
Themes
Main Charcters
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof takes place on a single evening during a birthday party for Big Daddy, the patriarch of a Southern plantation. Crisis strikes, and the family must deal with long-standing artifice, lies, jealousy, greed, cruelty, and homophobia. What culminates is an explosive night that burns through the family's web of deceit.
Delusion & Artifice
Whether it's lying to themselves or Brick's rejection of his homosexuality
others, nobody can face the truth.
Homophobia
Bricks rejection of his homosexuality and others' responses to it triggers his alcoholism and disgust with Maggie.
Brick Younger, favored son of Big Daddy
Cruelty
bricks and big daddy are very cruel to their wives
Big Daddy Family patriarch; owner of a large cotton plantation
Cooper Brick's successful but unloved older brother
Maggie Nervous, envious, lonely wife
Big Mama Big Daddy's flashy, despised wife; sweet but tense
Mae Gooper's sharp, scheming wife
Symbols
Cat
Symbolizes Maggie's craftiness and determination
Crutch
Represents Brick's use of self-deceit and alcohol to cope with life
Children
Represent trickery and deviousness as part of Mae's plans to win Big Daddy's inheritance
Numbering
1958
Year all public performances of the play were banned in London for its references to homosexuality
1955
Year the play won Putilizer prize of Drama
6
Academy Awards for which the 1958 film adaptation, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, was nominated
25
Full-length plays Williams wrote
Author
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 1911-83
Born in Mississippi as Thomas Lanier Williams, Tennessee Williams is known for his plays that feature intense characters and heavy themes about human frustration. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, one of his best-known plays, family interactions create serious drama through vivid language.
6