Analysis

Having finishes dressing before her indifferent husband, Maggie finds herself with nothing to do. Finally she forces the secret between them. The desire between Brick and Skipper is something that the former cannot avow. Here, as if possessed by a will to bring this desire to light, Maggie breaks into a recitation to elaborate on the triangle they once shared. Her compelling revelation is one of the play's more melodramatic, if not soap operatic, moments. They are characterized by the emotional excess and high histrionics of the hysterical heroine.

As Maggie's recitation makes clear, the only true love in Brick's life lay between he and his friend Skipper. Maggie sketches the triangle between the three of them. As she recalls, she accompanied the two football heroes for the benefit of the public—Maggie is nothing if not the trophy wife.

In contrast, Brick and Skipper's love assumes almost mythic dimensions: as Maggie relates that it was the stuff of Greek legend. For Brick, it remains the only true and good thing in his life. Note also the nostalgic nature of their love affair. For example, Brick's return to the high school athletic field is a turn to time lost.

As Maggie notes, theirs was a love that dare not speak its name, a love that could not be satisfied or discussed. Thus Maggie and Skipper abruptly found themselves aligned before the man they both want, a god inaccessible to them both. They made love to dream that Brick was theirs.

Finally Skipper's death shifts the triangle anew. Brick withdraws into mourning, abandoning the world in grief. His mourning is made all the more difficult by a desire he cannot avow. The dead man continues to intervene between husband and wife, and Maggie protests that she is alive in vain.

Sending Brick into a murderous and panicked rage, Maggie's revelation of the repressed finally shatters her husband's coolness. Brick would silence her at all costs. Crucially, his "unmanning" or castration—that is, the revelation of desires which call his masculinity into question—is symbolized and, at the level of the action at least, made possible by his injury. This unmanning will appear more clearly in his dialogue with Big Daddy in Act II.