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The "cat" in the play. Maggie's loneliness and Brick's refusal to make her his desire, has made her hard, nervous, and iritable. The woman constantly posing in the mirror, Maggie holds the audiences transfixed. The exhilaration of the play lies in the force of the audience's identification with its gorgeous heroine, a woman desperate in her sense of loneliness, who is made all the more beautiful in her envy, longing, and dispossession.
Read an in-depth analysis of Maggie.
The favorite son and mourned lover. Brick embodies an almost archetypal masculinity. At the same time, the Brick before us is also an obviously broken man because of his repressed homosexual desire for his dead friend Skipper.
Read an in-depth analysis of Brick.
Brick's father. Affectionately dubbed by Maggie as an old-fashioned "Mississippi redneck," Daddy is a large, brash, and vulgar plantation millionaire who believes he has returned from the grave. Though his coming death has been quickly repressed, in some sense Daddy has confronted its possibility. In returning from "death's country," Daddy would force his son to face his own desire.
Read an in-depth analysis of Big Daddy.
Brick's mother. Overweight, breathless, sincere, earnest, crude, and bedecked in flashy gems, Mama is a woman embarrassingly dedicated to a man who despises her and in feeble denial of her husband's disgust. She considers Brick her "only son."
Read an in-depth analysis of Big Mama.
A mean, agitated "monster of fertility" who schemes with her husband Gooper to secure Big Daddy's estate. Mae appears primarily responsible for the burlesques of familial love and devotion that she and the children stage before the grandparents.
A successful corporate lawyer. Gooper is Daddy's elder and less-favored son. He deeply resents his parents' love for Brick, viciously relishes in Daddy's illness, and rather ruthlessly plots to secure control of the estate.
A tactless, opportunistic, and hypocritical guest at Big Daddy's birthday party. As Williams indicates, his role is to embody the lie of conventional morality. Note especially in Act III his off-hand anecdote about the colors of his cheap chasuble fading into each other.
The sober Baugh is Daddy's physician. He delivers Daddy's diagnosis to Big Mama and leaves her with a prescription of morphine.
Mae and Gooper's children. They appear here as grotesque, demonic "no- necked monsters" who intermittently interrupt the action on-stage. Under Mae's direction, they offer up a burlesque image of familial love and devotion.
The plantation servants appear throughout the play. Note Williams's references to "Negro voices." In the birthday scene, they appear laughing at the edges of the stage, functioning to almost ornament the grotesque tableau.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof!