Love, Greed, and the Truth Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams is a play about the experiences in society. Among these experiences is death, communication, and honesty amongst men. Big Daddy has everything he needs. Brick got everything he wanted as a child.
Yet Big Daddy learns later from Brick that there wasn't one worldly possession that could satisfy Brick's yearning for love from his father. Brick understands that the world is so focused on money and physical possessions that he isolates himself from this world. He wanted one thing from the world and his father, love. That is why he doesn't want the money, land, and blue chip stocks. He just wanted Big Daddy to love him.
Fear of Death is one of the experiences in a society. Big Daddy talks a little bit about what he thought when it was suggested that he might have cancer. "A man can't buy back his life when his life is finished. That's a sobering thought, a very sobering thought, and that's a thought that I was turning over in my head, over and over and over until today." (Williams 65) He also moves on to talk about the burden of cancer being lifted. "I let many chances slip by because of scruples about it, scruples, convention crap... All that stuff is bull, bull, bull! It took the shadow of death to make me see it.
Now that shadow's lifted, I'm going to cut loose and have, what is it they call it, have me a ball!" (Williams 70) He now has a false sense of security and health. This is all because of the lie he was told by the doctor. This lie is just one of many that is brought out. Big Daddy keeps leading in the direction of a new life in light of the "Shadow of Death" being lifted. "The sky looks diff " rent to me... ." Big Daddy said, almost as if he has been born again.
(Williams 67) The fear of death has caused Big Daddy to look back at some of his experiences in society, such as his trip to Europe and his diagnosis of cancer. He now knows what he wants to change about his life because of his newly found vigor for life. Another experience in society is communication, or in Brick and Big Daddy's cases a lack of it. Big Daddy and Brick's conversations don't lack words. They lack meaning. Or as they both put it, "We talk, you talk, in circles! We get nowhere, nowhere! It's always the same, you say you want to talk to me and don't have a ruttin' thing to say to me!" (Williams 76) Finally, when the truth is told about Brick, Skipper, Maggie, and Big Daddy's cancer, their conversation for once had a meaning.
In Society, just as it was with Big Daddy and Brick, conversation contained a lot of talk but no real meaning. This lack of communication ties in with the final experience, honesty amongst men. The word mendacity is brought up a lot in the conversation between Big Daddy and Brick. Brick and Big Daddy's conversations always lack meaning because they never speak of the truth.
Something is always left unsaid between the two of them. 'It's always like something was left not spoken, something avoided because neither of us was honest enough with the other.' (Williams 82) Finally, Brick suggests that there are two ways to live with society and the mendacity in it. He said,' Mendacity is the system we live. Liquor is one way out an' death's the other.' (Williams 94) Brick chose liquor and Big Daddy will soon die of cancer so they are using both ways as an escape from society and the mendacity in it. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams raises a good question to think about. What if every conversation in today's society contained nothing but the truth instead of lies and meaningless chatter?.