Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

by: Tennessee Williams

Act I: Part three

Summary Act I: Part three

Summary

Continuing her "liturgical chant," Maggie muses on how fond she is of Daddy, a man who has remained a Mississippi redneck despite his wealth. In any case, she has to make sure she and Brick will be provided for. Brick cannot appreciate what it means to have been poor like she was. Maggie has spent her life sucking up to hateful relatives—poverty too has made her like a cat on a hot tin roof. One can be young and without money but not old.

Maggie murmurs that now that she is all dressed, there is nothing else for her to do. Restlessly she announces that she has realized her mistake and she should not have confessed to making love with Skipper. Brick warns her to shut up. She continues: Brick has always asked too much of those who loved him. She and Skipper only made love to each other to dream that it was actually Brick. Brick replies that Skipper had already confessed to him. He moves to the gallery and tells his niece to bring the party upstairs. Possessed, Maggie goes on, because she feels the truth must be told. As if from a Greek legend, Brick and Skipper's love was sad and awful because it could never be satisfied or even talked about. Maggie recalls how on their double dates in college it always seemed the boys were out together. The girls only came along for the public.

Threatening to kill her with his crutch, Brick accuses Maggie of naming the "one great good true thing" in his life dirty. Maggie protests that is naming it clean, so clean that it killed Skipper. Theirs was a love kept on ice, incorruptible: "death was the only icebox were you could keep it…"

Only Skipper knew of the desire between them. Thus he took to drinking after he and Brick decided to reject the job offers and start their own pro football team together. The night of the Thanksgiving game, for which an injured Brick could not play, Maggie confronted Skipper, ordering him to stop loving Brick or make Brick force him admit to it. Skipper smacked her. When she went to his room that they, he made a pitiful attempt to prove her wrong. Brick strikes at her, shattering the table lamp. "Who shot cock-robin?" Maggie cries. "I with my merciful arrow."

Brick strikes and misses anew. Maggie protests that while Skipper is dead, Maggie the cat is alive. Brick hurls his crutch at her and pitches onto the floor. Dixie rushes in wearing an Indian war bonnet and firing a cap pistol at Maggie. When Maggie screams in rage, Dixie, precociously cruel, retorts that Maggie is only jealous because she cannot have babies. She sashays out with her stomach protruding.

Maggie cries that Gooper and Mae even gloat before their no-necked children. She has gone to a doctor in Memphis and knows now is her time of the month to conceive. Brick wonders how she plans to have a child by a man who cannot stand her. Maggie will work it out. She wheels about to face the coming guests.