One of the disturbing issues represented in Williams’ dramas is old age along with aging. The paper analyzes elderly characters in the network of playwright’s selected texts of different periods, in particular, “The Glass Menagerie”, “Sweet Bird of Youth”, “The Night of the Iguana” and “Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore” as well as his lesser-known works “The Frosted Glass Coffin” and “This is the Peaceable Kingdom or Good Luck God” from the perspective of literary gerontology. The representative of the literary traditions of the American South, Williams demonstrates in his dramas the vulnerability and fragility of aging. The tragedy of old age in Williams’ plays is detected in the old age/youth antinomy. The character of a lonely aging woman or a spinster takes often the center stage. Williams’s treatment of his female characters’ (Princess Alexandra and Flora Goforth) sexuality challenges the ageist assumption that older women do not have or should not have intimate relationships. The dramatist renders the mentioned above characters sexually visible in the older woman/younger man relationships without pretence or concealing the corporeal transformations. The close reading of six dramas by Tennessee Williams demonstrates the anxiety of aging and old dramatis personae reflecting social ills. The study discerns the foreshadowing of the epigraphs (from poetry by E. Cummings, H. Crane, E. Dickinson, W. Yeats) implying the anxious aspects of aging and “third age” in four major Williams’s works; the dramatist’s late style represented by “The Frosted Glass Coffin” and “This is the Peaceable Kingdom or Good Luck God” manifests the explicit gerontophobia through rather grotesquely realistic than poetic imagery in the texts’ plot-lines.

Ключові слова

old age; aging; elderly characters; Tennessee Williams; sexuality; epigraph; gerontophobia.

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