Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a Tony-nominated play by Tennessee Williams. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955.


It is the story of a Southern family in crisis, focusing on the turbulent relationship of a wife and husband, Maggie "The Cat" and Brick Pollitt, and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of one evening gathering at the family estate in Mississippi, ostensibly to celebrate the birthday of patriarch and tycoon "Big Daddy" Pollitt. Maggie, through wit and beauty, has escaped a childhood of desperate poverty to marry into the wealthy Pollitt family, but finds herself suffering in an unfulfilling marriage. Brick, an ageing football hero, has neglected his wife and further infuriates her by ignoring his brother's attempts to gain control of the family fortune. Brick's indifference and his near-continuous drinking, date back to the recent suicide of his friend Skipper. Big Daddy is unaware that he has cancer and will not live to see another birthday; his doctors and his family have conspired to keep this information from him and his wife. His relatives are in attendance and attempt to present themselves in the best possible light, hoping to receive the definitive share of Big Daddy's enormous wealth.


The theme of the play is mendacity, a word Brick uses to describe his disgust with the world. Moreover it revolves around the lies in the aging and decaying Southern society. With one exception, the entire family lies to Big Daddy and Big Mama, as do the doctors. Big Daddy lies to his wife.

The play alludes to the presence of homosexuality in Southern society and examines the complicated rules of social conduct in this culture. The Hays Code limited how clearly the film could portray Brick's past sexual desire for Skipper, and thus diminished the original play's critique of homophobia and sexism.

Tennessee Williams himself was unclear about the nature of Brick's feelings for his friend Skipper while developing different versions of the play.

There are two versions of the play, one of which was influenced by director Elia Kazan, who directed the play on Broadway, and another which was performed for the first time in London, England.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools