Drama Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Arthur Miller's Death of a salesman and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House appear to contain no common themes on first reading. But upon close analysis of the two plays, readers are likely to discover that there is indeed the one major theme that is common in both stories however it has been discussed and exploited differently. Both plays highlight the importance of 'identity' and the consequences of not having one.

Death of a salesman revolves around the disillusioned and delusional world of Willy Loman, a nature salesman who is sadly confused about his identity that leads to a tragic end. Similarly A Doll's House focuses on the life of a naive housewife, Nora, who again has no identity of her own and lives in a world defined and dictated by her husband. Both Willy and Nora are confused about their own identity but the causes of this and consequences too are different in each case. In Willy's case, lack of a real identity originates from his inability to reconcile himself with the reality and this eventually results in his suicide. In Nora's case, however loss of identity stems from living in a patriarchic society but unlike Willy, she finally regains her identity and this completely shatters everything she had previously believed in.

Doll's House is a masterpiece of a man who it seemed possessed farsightedness of a true visionary because the theme of the play is well ahead of its time. It is a thoroughly modern play, which every woman can easily relate to as it revolves around an innocent housewife who is constantly deceived by her husband. The husband is not cheating on her and neither is he ever unfaithful to her, but the deception comes from his refusal to let his wife grow and develop her own personality. Hem, like most other men, maintains that a woman's primary duty is to look after her husband and children. Nora is foolish and naive to believe that her duties assigned to her by her role as a wife had been her only objectives in life, it is only near the end of the play that she realizes how wrong she had been and she barely knew her husband.

Willy Loman, on the other hand, also suffers from identity crisis and this stems from his inability to realize his dreams in the cruel capitalist world of America. Unlike some men who made it big in the land of opportunities, Willy remains a salesman all his life and just the realization that he had failed was profound enough to turn his life upside down. From this point onwards, he…

Sources Used in Document:


The Bedford Introduction to Drama, Fourth edition:


Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, 1949 Penguin USA, 1 edition, October 6, 1998

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