Compare And Contrast For The Death Of A Salesman Essay

Length: 3 pages Subject: Film Type: Essay Paper: #33790356 Related Topics: Death Of A Salesman, Arthur Miller, Comparative Analysis, Compare And Contrast
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Death of a Salesman

The three principle ways that one can experience a drama are through reading it, watching it on stage, and watching film adaptations. All three of these media present a unique experience for the reader or viewer. Reading a play in a book, for instance, offers no visual elements. Watching a play on stage provides a lot of visual elements, while watching a play in a movie provides even more visual elements. Still, it largely appears that there is an inverse relationship between a drama's visual elements and its main focus -- words. In some ways, the plentitude of visuals can detract from the simplicity and power of the words of a drama. In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, it greatly appears as though the focus of visuals and other elements provided by the film and the onstage version detract from the focus of the very powerful prose that Miller wrote, as an examination of the characters, scenery, and time shifts in this tale readily indicates.

Perhaps the main way in which the visual elements of the onstage and film version of Death of a Salesman are incomparable to the superior words of the written version is in the characters. One of the strengths of the written version is that the characters could be anyone. They are not simply the people one is looking at on stage or on a screen. In a play about the loss of the American Dream, this characteristic is extremely helpful because it helps to reinforce the idea that the problems that Willy Loman goes through could happen to anyone. However, in the onstage version, it is too easy for the viewer to get caught up in the individual playing Loman, and spotting instances of good acting and bad acting that interfere with the viewer and the actual...


This same concept applies to watching the film version. Some of the characters do good jobs in the film version -- for instance, Loman's wife is very convincing on screen. But in general, the written version resonates more because it is truer to the vision of the author and his original words.

Another main difference between the written version, the on stage version and the film version of Death of a Salesman is the scenery that is depicted in each. In the written version, of course, there is no scenery. The vast majority of the play is the dialogue that takes place between characters, as well as monologues. There are some sparse descriptions of the elements that are supposed to be onstage, but for the most part it is up to the reader to use his or her imagination to visualize the scenery surrounding the characters. By utilizing one's imagination, the words themselves become more vivid and the scenery becomes less important. The opposite of this notion is true in the onstage version of this work. The viewer can actually see the various settings -- there is time between scene to prepare the stage and adjust the setting, and the vivid power of imagination that is so prevalent in the written work is greatly reduced. Watching the on stage version of this work almost makes the viewer dependant on the scenery, which while the reader is not dependent on it at all. This concept certainly applies to the movie, perhaps even more so than onstage. Whereas there are certain physical and temporal limitations with the scenery on stage, there are no limitations to it on film because the producers have all the time in the world to get the scenery just right. In this respect, it is better to view the film than see the on stage version. Still, the reader uses his or her imagination with the written version, which is preferable to either of the other two choices.

Finally, one of the main differences between these three different modes of experiencing Miller's work pertains to the element of time and the flashbacks that take place. This part of the written version is handled very tastefully, with the reader aware of time slips and the thought process that takes…

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