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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a three-act play written by Tennessee Williams ; an adaptation of his short story Three Players of a Summer Game; he wrote the play between and Set in the "plantation home in the Mississippi Delta "  of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton tycoon, the play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy's family, primarily between his son Brick and Maggie the "Cat", Brick's wife.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof features motifs such as social mores , greed, superficiality, mendacity, decay, sexual desire, repression and death. Dialogue throughout is often rendered phonetically to represent accents of the Southern United States. The play was adapted as a motion picture of the same name in , starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman as Maggie and Brick, with Burl Ives and Madeleine Sherwood recreating their stage roles.
Williams made substantial excisions and alterations to the play for a revival in This has been the version used for most subsequent revivals, which have been numerous. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a Southern family in crisis, especially the husband Brick and wife Margaret usually called Maggie or "Maggie the Cat" , and their interaction with Brick's family over the course of one evening's gathering at the family estate in Mississippi.
The party is to celebrate the birthday of patriarch Big Daddy Pollitt, "the Delta 's biggest cotton-planter",  and his return from the Ochsner Clinic with what he has been told is a clean bill of health. His family has lied to Big Daddy and Big Mama to spare the aging couple from pain on the patriarch's birthday, but throughout the course of the play, it becomes clear that the Pollitt family has long constructed a web of deceit for itself. Maggie, determined and beautiful, has escaped a childhood of poverty to marry into the wealthy Pollitts, but finds herself unfulfilled.
The family is aware that Brick has not slept with Maggie for a long time, which has strained their marriage. Brick, an aging football hero, infuriates her by ignoring his brother Gooper's attempts to gain control of the family fortune.
Brick's indifference and his drinking have escalated with the suicide of his friend Skipper. Maggie fears that Brick's malaise will ensure that Gooper and his wife Mae inherit Big Daddy's estate. Through the evening, Brick, Big Daddy and Maggie—and the entire family—separately must face the issues which they have bottled up inside.
Big Daddy attempts a reconciliation with the alcoholic Brick. Both Big Daddy and Maggie separately confront Brick about the true nature of his relationship with his pro football buddy Skipper, which appears to be the source of Brick's sorrow and the cause of his alcoholism. Brick explains to Big Daddy that Maggie was jealous of the close friendship between Brick and Skipper because she believed it had a romantic undercurrent.
He states that Skipper took Maggie to bed to prove her wrong. Brick believes that when Skipper couldn't complete the act, his self-questioning about his sexuality and his friendship with Brick made him "snap". Brick also reveals that, shortly before he committed suicide, Skipper confessed his feelings to Brick, but Brick rejected him.
Disgusted with the family's "mendacity", Brick tells Big Daddy that the report from the clinic about his condition was falsified for his sake. Big Daddy storms out of the room, leading the party gathered out on the gallery to drift inside. Maggie, Brick, Mae, Gooper, and Doc Baugh the family's physician decide to tell Big Mama the truth about his illness, and she is devastated by the news.
Gooper and Mae start to discuss the division of the Pollitt estate. Big Mama defends her husband from Gooper and Mae's proposals.
Big Daddy reappears and makes known his plans to die peacefully. Attempting to secure Brick's inheritance, Maggie tells him she is pregnant. Mendacity is a recurring theme throughout the play. Brick uses the word to express his disgust with the "lies and liars" he sees around him, and with complicated rules of social conduct in Southern society and culture. Big Daddy states that Brick's disgust with mendacity is really disgust with himself for rejecting Skipper before his suicide.
With the exception of Brick, the entire family lies to Big Daddy and Big Mama about his terminal cancer. Furthermore, Big Daddy lies to his wife, and Gooper and Mae exhibit avaricious motives in their attempt to secure Big Daddy's estate. In some cases, characters refuse to believe certain statements, leading them to believe they are lies.
A recurring phrase is the line, "Wouldn't it be funny if that was true? The characters' statements of feeling are no longer clear-cut truths or lies; instead they become subject more to certainty or uncertainty.
This phrase is the last line of the play as originally written by Williams and again in the version. The ways in which humans deal with death are also at the focus of this play, as are the futility and nihilism some encounter when confronted with imminent mortality.
Additionally, in one of his many drafts,  in a footnote on Big Daddy's action in the third act, Williams deems Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a "play which says only one affirmative thing about 'Man's Fate': that he has it still in his power not to squeal like a pig but to keep a tight mouth about it. At the urging of Elia Kazan , the play's director for its premiere, Williams revised the third act and that revision was performed. But when the play was published later that year by New Directions Publishing , it included two versions of act three, Williams' original and the Broadway revision, with his accompanying "Note of Explanation.
When Gazzara left the play, Jack Lord replaced him. Ashley was nominated for a Tony Award. For this production, Williams restored much of the text which he had removed from the original one at the insistence of Elia Kazan. He included a revised third act and made substantial revisions elsewhere.
When this production moved from Connecticut to Broadway, the part of Lacey was omitted and the number of Mae and Gooper's children reduced to three. A revival in featured Kathleen Turner , who was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Maggie, though New York magazine called her "hopelessly lost Holliday also was nominated for a Tony.
Reviews were generally positive. A revival received lukewarm reviews despite the presence of film stars Ashley Judd and Jason Patric. Martindale received a Tony nomination. This production was a box office hit, with season extended to the Theatre Royal Sydney.
Shortly afterward, Masterson and Davidson were married. In , an all-black production directed by Debbie Allen opened on Broadway. The Hays Code limited Brick's portrayal of sexual desire for Skipper, and diminished the original play's critique of homophobia and sexism.
Williams reportedly was unhappy with the screenplay, which removed almost all of the homosexual themes and revised the third act section to include a lengthy scene of reconciliation between Brick and Big Daddy.
Paul Newman, the film's star, also had stated his disappointment with the adaptation. Despite this, the film was highly acclaimed and was nominated for several Academy Awards , including Best Picture.
Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman both received Oscar nominations for their performances. This adaptation, directed by Jack Hofsiss , revived the sexual innuendos which had been muted in the film. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Stage play. First edition cover New Directions. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Main article: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof film. Plays — Mel Gussow and Kenneth Holditch, eds. New York: Library of America, , pp. New Directions Publishing Corporation, Plays —, pp. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. New York: Signet. Playbill Incorporated. Belvoir St Theatre. February 8, Retrieved Archived from the original on Saur, Works by Tennessee Williams. Merriweather Return from Memphis?
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone Moise and the World of Reason In Masks Outrageous and Austere List of one-act plays by Tennessee Williams. Awards for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival. Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Why Marry? Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. Download as PDF Printable version.
Tennessee Williams. Death , mendacity , relationships , loneliness , homosexuality , alcoholism. Drama , Southern Gothic.
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Brick is taking a shower in the bedroom he shares with his wife, Maggie. Maggie enters and undresses, complaining that one of his brother Gooper's children hit her with a hot buttered biscuit. They are no better than animals at a country fair. Gooper and his wife Mae have been having them perform for Big Daddy, incessantly reminding him of their own childlessness.
They are trying to cut Brick out of the estate now that Daddy is dying of cancer. Maggie lowers the shades and continues, saying that Brick is only aiding and abetting Gooper and Mae in their scheme with his drinking and much-publicized stunt last night on the high school athletic field. Brick broke his ankle jumping hurdles. Maggie is confident of their advantage. Big Daddy dotes on Brick, abhors Gooper and his "monster of fertility" of a wife and has a "lech" for Maggie herself.
The children scream downstairs. Maggie's smile fades when she notices Brick is oblivious to her. This constant rejection makes her humor bitchy. She recounts how Gooper and Mae plied Daddy at the dinner table and tactlessly kept exchanging tactical signals, how they affect refinement because of Mae's family name and crown as the Memphis cotton carnival queen, and an anecdote about a former queen getting a mouthful of tobacco in the eye during the parade.
Suddenly Maggie catches sight of Brick staring at her in the mirror and starts. She asks why he looks at her that way. She knows she has undergone a "hideous transformation," become hard and frantic. She is lonely, since living with someone you love, who does not love you back, is lonelier than living alone.
When Brick asks if she would like to live alone, Maggie gasps and attempts to resume ordinary conversation. Asking if Brick enjoyed his shower, she offers him an alcohol or cologne rub. Brick replies that he is no longer in shape. Maggie replies that he remains the only drunk she knows who has yet to lose his looks—he maybe even looks better. He has always looked "enviably cool. She recalls how Brick was the most wonderful lover in his indifference, his perfect calm.
She would stab herself in the heart if she knew he would never sleep with her again. Maggie is determined to win, however. Black Lives Matter. Support the Equal Justice Initiative. Artboard Created with Sketch. Error Created with Sketch. Themes Symbols Key Facts. Important Quotations Explained. Summary Act I: Part one. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3. Summary Brick is taking a shower in the bedroom he shares with his wife, Maggie.
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