Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Author Tennessee Williams
Type of Work Drama
Time and place written Written in New York, 1939
Date of First Publication 1940; first production in New York, 1955 under the direction of Elia Kazan
Publisher New Directions
Point of View Point of view is not located as there is no narrator figure
Tense The play unfolds in the time of the present
Setting (time) Summer, mid-1950s
Setting (place) The bed and sitting room of Big Daddy's Mississippi plantation home.
Protagonists Maggie, Brick, Big Daddy
Major Conflict Big Daddy has come home from the clinic on his 65th birthday, and his children plan to tell him he is dying of cancer. Mae and Gooper have brought their entire brood in an attempt to jostle Brick and Maggie out of their share of the estate. Their marriage is childless and on-the-rocks; Brick has quit his job and taken to drinking upon the death of Skipper, a friend for whom he harbored sexual desire.
Rising Action Big Daddy corners Brick and forces him to recount what really happened with Skipper, robbing him of his crutch, and bribing him with the promise of liquor.
Climax At the end of Act II, Brick admits Skipper's confession of love and reveals Daddy's cancer.
Falling Action Gooper and Mae attempt to get Big Mama to sign a preliminary will; Maggie lies about being pregnant and attempts to force Brick to conceive a child with her.
Themes Manliness and homosexuality, the lie, the father and son, the cat on a hot tin roof
Motifs The children, the off-stage telephone, the exotic lands
Symbols The crutch, the bed, the console
Foreshadowing Maggie announces her plot to conceive a child at the end of Act I; Brick decides to reveal Daddy's cancer in return for the revelation of his homosexual desire