Significance of Music in the Death of a Salesman Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Death of a Salesman

The Death of Salesman is about an individual who in pursuit of the great American Dream, miserably fails, as he is addicted to his false illusions, which finally lead him and his family to utter chaos and dispersion. This paper will focus the musical element in the story and briefly the discuss it's significance.

From the first the flute is used to create a mood or an atmosphere. Even though Willy is a heavy-set, aging man, lumbering in with weighty valises, he is also an individual forever pursuing an elusive vision or dream. And the light music of the flute, never pronounced or intrusive, keeps this side of Willy before the audience. The flute is used to smooth over the frequent shifts and to help set successive scenes. [1]

The flute music derived the theme by playing it to creates a mood and soothing effect in an otherwise dull atmosphere. Since the entire story of the Death of a Salesman has a somewhat lumbering feeling in a dull environment, the music of the flute at the background presents the character of Willy as an individual who is forever in pursuit of an elusive vision or a dream. [2] The audience is thus kept in a trance like atmosphere by the playing of the flute.

Another aspect of the music in the Death of Salesman is the ever conscious portrayal of present day scenes duly combined with the flashbacks into history and vice versa. These transitions thus keep the audience from moving away from the scene, as he never really leaves one scene and enters another scene, as is the case in conventional works. On the contrary, the author makes a very good use of flute music to keep the audience from one place to the other or from one moment to another.[3] An example is the flashback period often remembered by Willy, as he goes back fifteen years, and then suddenly we are in the present day circumstances. These transitory movement are excellently controlled by the flute, as the music not only smoothes out the frequent movements of the characters, it also paves the way for the next scene. Hence, the process is repeated, as we hear the continuous playing of the flute. [4]

One of the most significant aspects of the concept of music was the use of the flute…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Daniel, Helen. "The Liar's Lump', Or, 'A Salesman's Sense of History': Peter Carey's Illywhacker." Southerly 47 (1986): 157-167.

Arthur Miller on 'The Nature of Tragedy'," New York Herald-Tribune, March 27, 1949.

The Family in Modern Drama," Atlantic Monthly, April 1956.

The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller (New York: Viking, 1978).

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