Fear can impact us in many ways. It limits us from doing things we want in life and even for ourselves. It constrains us, affects all our actions and decisions, and ends up ruling our lives. It may also lead us to do inadequate steps that may destruct others and us. On the other hand, fear stays as the permanent alarm in our lives that keeps us from doing reckless moves and actions. There exist multiple reasons that make this topic interesting. The various effects of fear on society are being unveiled by the day.
This is ensured by the increasing concern of psychologists in the domain of fear and its effect on society. Fear is the controller of our lives. It controls us starting from the minor concepts such as drinking to avoid daily trouble, and ending with the major concepts such as causing wars (For example, fearing a fast developing country and declaring war on it). In both the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and A Doll’s House, fear plays two distinct roles and enforces different effects on the actions of the characters.
Fear is defined as the emotional reaction of mind and body to the recognition of an alerting loss of control and regaining of control. The outcome of fear depends on the personality of the afraid person and the way he/she deals with this fear. And thus, fear can have both positive and negative effects. As for the positive effects, sometimes our fear can be a useful natural feedback that helps us predict and respond more quickly to an authentic threat. This can be supported by an example of Nora’s fear of losing her husband, which eventually led her to borrow money from his enemy to afford his medical treatment.
Furthermore, her fear from her husband led her to completely fulfill her duties as a wife and as a mother of her children. It is the fear of her husband’s reaction that kept their marriage standing so long. This point can be further illustrated by elucidating the reason Nora left her husband at the end of the play. The incident of the letter was the catalyst to the shift of power between Nora and Helmer and to the evanescence of the fear that Nora had toward Helmer. Once that fear was gone, their marriage was immediately ruined.
Thus, the presence of fear led Nora to appreciate what she had and kept their marriage standing, and its absence caused the destruction of their marriage. On the contrary, fear can start a series of destructive events that may eventually lead to unfavorable results. For instance, Blanche lived her life witnessing a series of hard events that first started with the magical love story that ended with the death of her husband, and the fact that she blames herself about it.
Blanche said in her conversation with Mitch: “and all I knew was I’d failed him in some mysterious way and wasn’t able to give him the help he needed but couldn’t speak of” (Williams, 1947, p56). She also saw her relatives die one after another and saw her whole world fall apart as Belle Reve was being lost part by part. She says: “I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! ” (p12). The reality was so miserable that she even found peace in funerals compared to what she was passing through in her life.
Blanche’s fear of this reality led to unfortunate actions. She created her own world in which she seeked salvation and which she turned to when she wanted to run away from the harsh reality. She says: “I don’t want realism. I’ll tell you what I want. Magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. ” (p72). She also seeked comfort in strangers’ kindness because she was afraid of being alone. Loneliness scared her and made her feel endangered. After the death of Allan-intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with…. I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting for some protection-here and there, in the most-unlikely places-even, at last, in a seventeen-year-old boy” (p73). She hides in the dark because she thinks that darkness can conceal her flaws and fallacies. Exposure to bright light also represents revealing the fear, fabrications, and turmoil behind the facade. The fear of this reality did not only harm her, it also harmed people around her.
Her fear that her relationship with Mitch would get blown if he found out about the men she slept with led her to further lie about having morals. In other words, many of Blanche’s actions were influenced by her fear of reality. But unfortunately, her fear in the end overwhelmed her, and her special world fell apart on her and caused her insanity. On resume, the effects of fear depend on the psychological being of the character and the way this character deals with his/her fears to either yield positive or negative results. ? References Ibsen, H. (1879). A doll’s house Williams, T. (1947). A streetcar named desire