Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy Loman finally realized, to an extent, that he had been living a life of illusion and self-deception. Towards the end of the play he concludes that would be worth more to the family dead then alive, "After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive." His son Biff has seen the truth about his father's self delusions much earlier then Willy. This causes clash between the two as Willy still believes that Biff will amount to something and Biff finally confronts his father about his low station in life and the fact that the two of them will always be nobodys.
Willy developed the theory that if a person is well liked and is very good looking then doors, i.e. opportunity, will automatically be opened for him. In essence Willy believes in style…… [Read More]
Willy's "psychopathy," he explained, is a manifestation of his being "other-directed" -- or possessing a value system entirely determined by external norms…evidence that goes beyond normal human inconsistency into the realm of severe internal division" (3). The author's analysis illustrates that Willy's "psychopathy" is an inevitable and consistent result of his constant dreaming about success and wealth using the wrong approach. Knowing that he has failed himself and his family, Willy tried to compensate for this by holding strong to the belief that he will eventually prevail, that personality and charisma would save him and his family from poverty. As a result, Willy isolated himself from his family, simply by not sharing the realities that his wife and sons are experiencing, being poor and in constant conflict with Willy's ideals.
Indeed, the psychological trauma that plagued Willy upon realizing that he has grown old and did not succeed in the…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
Linda: Are they any worse than his sons? When he brought them business, when he was young, they were glad to see him. But now his old friends, the old buyers that loved him so and always found some order to hand him in a pinch - they're all dead, retired. He used to be able to make six, seven calls a day in Boston. Now he takes his valises out of the car and puts them back and takes them out again and he's exhausted. Instead of walking he talks now. He drives seven hundred miles, and when he gets there no one knows him anymore, no one welcomes him. And what goes through a man's mind, driving seven hundred miles home without having earned a cent? Why shouldn't he talk to himself? Why? When he has to go to Charley and borrow fifty dollars…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
In all of twentieth-century American drama, it is Arthur Miller's 1949 masterwork Death of a Salesman that has been lauded as the best American play. The play deals with important aspects of American life, discovering and exploring the idea of the American dream. Since its first appearance in New York in 1949 to its numerous worldwide performances since, Death of a Salesman has spoken to the apprehensions of middle-class workers internationally and their great effort for continuation in capitalist society. The play and its preliminary production set the tone for American drama for the rest of the century through its sociopolitical themes, its lyrical pragmatism, and its focus on the ordinary man.
In Death of a Salesman, illy Loman has to face the truth that he no longer has his sales employment and therefore no longer has his indispensable uniqueness. He can't grip it. Miller lets…… [Read More]
hen the past no longer serves as an adequate escape, illy resorts to complete fantasy in the form of Ben.
For illy, his long lost brother represents the ultimate realization of the American Dream. Ben left his family to find fortune in Alaska. He represents the adventurer who makes a success through entrepreneurialism and audacity (Krasner 46). Miller however indicates that this success is decidedly uncertain; pointing out the wishful fantasy that has completely overridden illy's ability to handle reality. Throughout the play, this juxtaposition of fantasy and reality serves as symbol of illy's inner turmoil. illy's fantasy is his own material success as a salesman, and the hope represented by his family. The fantasy culminates in the success of his brother Ben, and in illy's regular references to himself as being "well liked" (Miller 30).
This illusion of being "well liked" is the contact point between illy's true past…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
The new millennium has brought with it new and interesting challenges. Our values and ideals have evolved along with the changing times. This is also true of business and the things that constitute success. For these reasons, many have questioned the relevance of literature created during the previous century to the world as it appears today. Such questions have also been raised about Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, which appeared in the period after World War II, during which the United States as superpower attempted to sell the benefits of capitalism as such to its citizens (Siegel, 2012). In a New York Times review, Siegel makes the claim that the only meaning the play has for today's audiences is to give them a sense of superiority over rather than identification with Willy Loman. However, perhaps the play still has more depth to offer, even…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman: Tragedy in Prose
Tragedy, can easily lure us into talking nonsense."
In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, we are introduced to illy Loman, who believes wholeheartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream -- that a "well liked" and "personally attractive" man in business will unquestionably acquire the material comforts offered by modern American life. illy's obsession with the superficial qualities of attractiveness and likeability are at odds with a more granular and beneficial understanding of the American Dream that identifies hard work without complaint as the key to success. (Bloom) illy's interpretation of likeability is perfunctory -- he childishly hates Bernard because he thinks Bernard does not embody the qualities that he admires. illy's faith in his warped version of the American Dream leads to his psychological decline when he is unable to accept the incongruity between the Dream…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
Cultue and Gende in Death of a Salesman
Ameican cultue is clealy changing. Yet, many within it ae efusing to adapt, and ae continuing to hold on to outdated middle class values that don't wok within today's social context. This is Willy Loman. Athu Mille pesents a sad but ealistic look at the destuction of the Ameican Deam and middle class values within his wok Death of a Salesman, which also upholds the antiquated gende steeotypes which seem to only quicken Willy Loman's fall into dismay.
Thee ae a numbe of cultual conflicts pesent within the wok. Essentially it shows the dismembement and destuction of the middle class values of woking had that wee ceated hundeds of yeas ago in a much diffeent social space. Willy Loman is essentially a "salesman with delusions of gandeu, and was witten moe than 60 yeas ago, but it seems…… [Read More]
Though critics such as Sheila Huftel characterize illy Loman's "fall" as only a fall from "an imagined height," it is nevertheless still a fall, which makes illy Loman, like Oedipus, a tragic figure. illy has created very powerful ideas about what he wants his life to be and what he wants his sons lives to be. But these ideas are part of what make illy who he is. He cannot help but persist with these ideas and that is what sends him on a path headed for failure inevitably. Just like Oedipus was doomed by fate, illy is too doomed because of his inherent desire to achieve things that society puts out of his reach. No matter how far away his dreams go, illy always strives to reach them, and it puts a rift between himself and others in his life.
illy's idea of "success" goes way beyond any…… [Read More]
Willy relives the painful memory, but does not accord it the same weight as Biff. The inability of Willy to understand Biff is one of the central conflicts of the play. Even after the father and son have their show-down, when Biff insists to Willy that he is "nothing," and that it doesn't matter to him, Willy can only marvel that Biff likes him. Unlike in a Greek play, no deus ex-machina comes from above to explain to both father and son why they have suffered so much for so many years, and why their relationship is so problematic. The scene goes on, and Happy is just as much an 'enabler' of his father's delusional view of the world even after the climatic confrontation of Biff and Willy.
Willy falls back and forth from past to present, from memories of life in the office to the actual moment in time…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
Expressionism is an artistic movement created in the early 20th century which sought to express human emotion through artistic media. hile it may have began with painting, it quickly spread to other forms of artistic expression including poetry and literature. In the form of literature, expressionist plays were a very popular form of expressing the struggle of the protagonist against difficulties of life and cultural expectations. These plays often dramatized the emotional, or psychological, sufferings and eventual enlightenment of the main character. Expressionist dramaturgy also makes use of rapid scene changes, tremendous stage and lighting action, as well as a non-regular storyline which jumps around and often confuses the audience. However, all these elements are brought together in order to allow the audience to "ride an emotional rollercoaster" while viewing the play. One time-honored example of this type of literature is Arthur Miller's Death of a…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman: Ethics in Business
Arthur Miller's play titled Death of a Salesman is classic example of the transition experienced by those involved in the business world during the middle part of the 20th Century. Business ethics and the economy are interwoven and tied to the theme of achieving the American dream in the play. Willy, the main character in the play is caught in between two popular but very different types of approaches to business ethics, one is known as character ethics and the other is known as personality ethics. William Covey the Author The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People explains that the twenty first century saw a social change in American culture which valued the individual. This social changed encouraged individuals to try to achieve their goals through the use of "human and public relation techniques and positive mental attitude" (Covey 19), this type of…… [Read More]
In conclusion, Death of a Salesman tells the tragic tale of illy Loman's life. e do feel pity for this man as we watch him fail and we do understand that he makes tragic mistakes throughout his life that have brought him to this point. Many critics want to make allowances for the play because it represents the world in which we live. In doing so, they seem to forget that we are surrounded by people of great stature every day. hile we do not operate in a world of nobility, we still have persons of great respect that speak for our groups and cultures. The modern argument wants to redefine Aristotle's definition but by doing so, it assumes that we are all only capable of the common life that illy experienced. hile illy is an excellent representation of the common man, he is not every man. His life was…… [Read More]
He cannot provide for his family financially, and emotionally he feels bankrupt. That is why the brief, transient sense that Biff likes him provides him with so much joy -- it is the proof, however small, that he has succeeded at something in life. However, even his language of 'liking' echoes the language he uses when speaking of being 'liked' at the office, and almost immediately after speaking to Biff, illy is dreaming once again of diamond mines, and easy money. illy is incapable, unlike his son, of truly deep self-awareness.
illy, Biff, and Happy seem ignorant of the American dream's demand that people work hard to move ahead. illy and Linda blame Biff's math teacher, not Biff, for their son's failure in school, while brainy, hard-working Bernard grows up to argue a case before the Supreme Court (Miller 111). Biff and Happy never concoct honest schemes to earn money,…… [Read More]
That tragedies reflect life is one of Aristotle's requirements and this requires that dramas drift from the tales of great kings and princes. Arthur Miller writes, "Insistence upon the rank of the tragic hero, or the so-called nobility of his character, is really but a clinging to the outward form of tragedy" (Miller qtd. In ilson 132) and "I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were" (Miller qtd. In ilson 132). "The tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing - his sense of personal dignity... Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly" (Miller qtd. In ilson 132). ilson supports this perspective by pointing out that we have no…… [Read More]
Act 2. Discuss the scene between illy and Ben, consider what advice illy is asking of Ben, note Bens reply "let me think about it." hat might miller be suggesting by it? hat importance does this scene have in the play? hat themes are evoked in it?
Ben's relationship with his brother illy throughout the play exemplifies illy's longing for the success that never comes. Ben profits from diamond mines, while illy dies an unremarkable salesman, valuable, illy thinks, only for his life insurance policy. Unlike illy, Ben seemed to care less for the opinion of others. He struck out on his own in Alaska in search of riches, while illy was more attracted to the idea of being a well-liked salesman.
In this final scene with Ben, however, the viewer becomes aware of how much illy's mind is unhinged. "A man has got to add up to something" he…… [Read More]
He can't let go of the idea that popularity and wealth are what are most important in a man.
In the second act, Willy receives a terrible blow. He explains to his boss, Howard, how he met a salesman when he was about 19, and admired the man's skills, and decided that sales was the very best job a man could have. But he tells Howard he's tired, and he wants to work in the store instead of on the road. Howard keeps telling him there's no opening for floor sales, and then finally tells him the truth: the company is going to let Willy go. Howard says:
HOWARD: I think you need a good long rest, Willy... And then when you feel better, come back, and we'll see if we can work something out.
He tells Willy that this is no time for false pride and that he should…… [Read More]
The example of illy coming home from a business trip bragging, "I'm tellin' you, I was sellin' thousands and thousands, but I had to come home" is classic living in a fake world behavior. And Jacobson goes on to explain, poignantly, that illy's "fabrications create so extreme a polarization with his incapacities that an acceptance of failure - his own or Biff's - becomes impossible" (Jacobson 252).
Meanwhile, H.C. Phelps, writing in Explicator (Phelps, 1995), is quick in his essay to point out that both Happy and Linda are living in a fantasy world. They believe somehow, through years of foggy illy-inspired interpretation probably, that Bill Oliver will not only give Biff a job, but also will "stake" biff to a business venture (Phelps 239).
He did like me," Biff says. "Always liked me." His mom chimes in, "He loved you...he thought highly of you Biff." That seems pretty unlikely…… [Read More]
One of the only solutions that he had to this issue was to communicate with his family in order to have them see things from his point-of-view and to try to understand him. Even with the fact that Loman attempts to resolve things, he is unable to see the full picture and he is thus stuck in a position that provides him with very little advantages when compared to the state that he is previously in.
The detachment symptom occurs when Loman is both inclined to go through with the plan that he devised across his life and to change everything about himself in order to provide his family with a better authoritarian figure. He is desensitized as a result and he ends up feeling that there is nothing important enough for him in society and that it is pointless for him to go on living in such circumstances. He…… [Read More]
Willy treats Linda carefully, because he is always afraid she will find out about the affair. He lies to her, which is extremely harmful to any relationship, and because he lies to her, he ends up lying to himself. He will not admit, even to himself, that anything is wrong, and he cannot ask for help from his wife or his family. Linda has had to take control of the family because Willy is incapable of that kind of control, and so, she has lost touch with everything, including Willy and his problems. Willy will not tell her the truth because he does not want to "worry" her, but really, that is crueler than sharing his problems with her. By leaving her in the dark, she has no way to understand his motives for suicide. She also has no way to help him, and giving up the support of your…… [Read More]
As Northrop Frye states, tragic heroes are “the inevitable conductors of the power about them...instruments as well as victims.” Tragic heroes experience great pain and suffering themselves, through which the audience members can contemplate their own faults. More than that, tragic heroes can bring about the destruction of others including those they love. Examples from classical literature like Oedipus and Hamlet provide obvious examples of how tragic heroes cause the death or destruction of their loved ones. Willy Loman, the classic though common tragic hero, also becomes a conduit of despair in Death of a Salesman.
Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman epitomizes the tragedy of the common man. In Miller’s essay “Tragedy and the Common Man,” he writes that classic tragic flaws are “not peculiar to grand or elevated characters,” (1). A common man like Willy Loman can be every bit as much of a tragic hero as…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman
In order for a family to be fully and healthily functioning, it has to be honest and communicative, supportive and nurturing. The Loman family, however, lacks these characteristics and appears more dysfunctional than functional. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is essentially a eulogy for the American Dream, killed by the dysfunctionality of American life. That dysfunction is what seeps into the Loman family and prevents it from operating the way it should. As Biff states at one point in the play, “We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house” (Act 2, Part 7, pg. 104). Communication barriers exist and dishonesty is rife. It is so stifling in the family that Biff states earlier in the play that his time in the house feels wasted: "I've always made a point of not wasting my life, and every time I come back here I…… [Read More]
Biff, by no means, was him a lazy bum, he had many different jobs before, but did not stay long at any of them, so he was not a dependent user who would wait for others to provide for him, he actually worked. The perception of Willy on Beff's job is evident when he speaks about Biff's recent job as a farm hand with disdain. He demeans the job without caring that it was a means where he would make an honest living. It indicates that no matter the job he would have picked for himself, Willy would not have supported him unless it was the one that brought the glory and reverence to the Lamon family name (Magil 1365-1368).
Thematic issues like father-son relationships that the author pursues in his writing: Biff and Will's relationship is not only representative of how fathers plan and map out their child's life,…… [Read More]
Though he hated his father's beliefs and principles, iff inevitable became the victim of these misguided ideals, and like Willy, eventually became a failure.
iff was not able to achieve his desire to satisfy his father's expectations about him to be economically successful -- that is, to subsist also to his father's 'American dream' kind of life. iff's resentment to his father resulted to his current state of poverty, with no permanent job to provide him with financial support and immaturity in dealing with his problems in life. He also lacks self-confidence because of his father's constant criticisms about his life and lack of ambition, which made him indecisive and resigned in the kind of life that he leads: " ... I realized something about myself and I tried to explain it to you ... I think I'm just not smart enough to make sense out of it for you"…… [Read More]
And this is perhaps the most important underlying notion of Miller's play. The American Dream, which can perhaps be seen as the principle at the heart of the work, is also the ambition which pushes Loman through his life of artifice and vain pursuit. In a flashback, illy is shown to be a man of aspiration, who wishes to transform his diligence and respect for authorities into a life of comfort and reputation. Even wishing eventually to start his own business, illy Loman is a startling figure insofar as his decline does not occur without a background of optimism and forward momentum. This is the crux of Miller's point though, that there is an illusory nature to the expectations of the American Dream. orking for somebody else's ideals and to line some other rich man's pockets his whole life, we find that illy has been exploited by the false promises…… [Read More]
Finally, there is a sense of release or uplifting at the end of the play. Linda's comment, "We're free" (Miller 1054) seems to encapsulate the family's struggles and inner turmoil. Willy has died in a blaze of glory, utterly convinced he is doing the right thing, and perhaps that has made his last moments happier than they have been in years. He will never know he failed again, and failed his family in the most permanent way. However, there was so much argument, turmoil, and strife in the family, perhaps removing himself was really the thing the family needed. There is a feeling, even though it may be implied, that the family will come together as a result of Willy's death, and that they will survive. There is also a feeling that the two sons will have some impetus to make something of themselves, even if it is because they…… [Read More]
Critic Heyen says, "There is no question but that the play is elusive. As Miller himself has said, 'Death of a Salesman is a slippery play to categorize because nobody in it stops to make a speech objectively stating the great issues which I believe it embodies'" (Heyen 47). Therefore, many critics look at the play in different ways, attempting to categorize it and reference it according to their literary and dramatic experience. Heyen, on the other hand, tries to give his own personal reaction to the play, which is that Willy dies happy because he thinks what he is doing is right. He says, "Willy Loman, and this is his new and peculiar dimension, ends up dying happily, ecstatically, because he holds to the dream of meaning, holds to his sort of spiritual Franklinism" (Heyen 56). Willy dies happy, believing he is doing the right thing, and in the…… [Read More]
Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"
Perhaps no other play in American history has captured the essence of the nation's collective consciousness during a particular era than Arthur Miller's 1949 drama Death of a Salesman. Presented predominately from the perspective of aging salesman illy Loman, this contribution to dramatic literature is at once absurd and tragic, with Miller employing several distinct authorial styles to tell the story of an increasingly senile Loman, who wavers between states of lucidity and fantasy throughout the narrative. Several members of Loman's family play central roles in Death of a Salesman, including illy's loyal wife Linda, his failed sons Biff and Happy, and each character is an extension of the protagonist himself, representing the overall ordinary nature of his life despite delusions to the contrary (Koon 31). The reason that this play has come to encapsulate the prevailing American identity during the era in which…… [Read More]
Arthur Miller's Play Death Of A Salesman (1949)
One of the central themes in the Author Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, is the concept of the American Dream. The concept of the American Dream has been one of the fundamental beliefs of the American community since the country's inception. The basic concept is fairly egalitarian in nature and states something to the effect that if an individual truly devotes themselves to improving themselves and their situation, then they will ultimately find prosperity through their hard work. This prosperity is possible because there are few truly limiting factors that can prevent someone from reaching their goals in the U.S. of lore and whatever obstacles that are present can be overcome through dedication and resourcefulness.
James Truslow Adams was among the first to explicitly refer to the American Dream in his book The Epic of America, which was written…… [Read More]
The reality of this truth is that is Nora does not know herself, her husband cannot possible know who she is. Nora experiences the pain of a blind love that has finally seen the truth. In a moment of enlightenment, she tells her husband, "You don't understand me, and I have never understood you either -- before tonight" (194).
For years, Nora lived safely behind the lie that she called a marriage but after Torvald found out about the loan, the happy marriage was gone and both partners saw the lies of one another. Nora's difficulty with love is different in that she makes a positive discovery in addition to the terrible truth she has learned. In short, not all is in vain. Nora can walk away a more informed, educated, and independent woman as a result of what she went through with Torvald. She can also look forward to…… [Read More]
Exchange at the End of Act Two:
THE WOMAN: I just hope there's nobody in the hall. That's all I hope. To Biff: Are you football or baseball?
THE WOMAN: (angry, humiliated) That's me too. G'night.
Both Biff and Happy are shown throughout the course of Death of a Salesman to have a very careless attitude in regards to how they treat women. They treat women like conquests, not as human beings. In a flashback sequence, Linda complains that mothers have informed her that they are worried that Biff is rough with girls; Happy has slept with a number of the girlfriends and fiancees of the superiors at his place of employment. He does so not because he is in love with these women but as a passive-aggressive way of getting back at the people who tell him what to do on a daily basis at work.
In…… [Read More]
drama is tragic not only because of Willy Loman's suicide, but because he has left his family with nothing, and his sons with no hopes and abilities of their own.
Brief overview of the play
Argument for tragedy
Pro argument for tragedy
Con argument against tragedy
What the critics say
Death of a Salesman as Tragedy
This paper analyzes the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Specifically, it discusses the definition of tragedy by Aristotle, and research if it is correct to label the play as a tragedy.
Death of a Salesman is indeed a tragedy of epic proportions. The drama is tragic not only because of Willy Loman's suicide, but because he has left his family with nothing, and his sons with no hopes and abilities of their own.
Arthur Miller wrote Death of a Salesman in 1948,…… [Read More]
Willy and Charley
Of all the relationships in Death of a Salesman, the relationship between Willy and his friend and next door neighbor Charley is the most honest one. Unlike Willy's wife and sons, Charley has never idealized Willy. However, he shows kindness to Willy at the end of the play, demanding that Willy's sons pay respect to Willy, despite their father's failed life. "A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory," he says when Biff mourns the fact that his father didn't "know who he was" (Miller 103). Even though Charley is a very different type of person than Willy and is far more practical in his perspective on the world, he is still compassionate to his old friend.
If it were not for Charley, Willy would not be financially solvent. Throughout the play, Charley frequently lends money to Willy to ensure that Willy's family…… [Read More]
masterful aspects of Death of a Salesman is the extent to which playwright Arthur Miller leaves it ambiguous regarding Willy Loman's culpability for his own condition. On one hand, he is part of a capitalist system which values people solely upon the extent to which they can demonstrate a profit for their superiors and how well-liked they are by their colleagues. Loman is not well-liked enough, and as soon as his sales figures begin to slip he is ostracized by his business colleagues. According to Willy, he has "gotta be at it ten, twelve hours a day. Other men -- I don't know -- they do it easier. I don't know why -- I can't stop myself -- I talk too much" (Miller 24).
Act I makes it clear that Willy's idealistic version of how to achieve success within capitalism involves get-rich-quick schemes rather than actual effort as well as…… [Read More]
In Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman, the Lowman family finds it quite difficult to decode and differentiate between the real and illusion. This theme of reality versus illusion continues throughout the play, which in the end leads to the death of the protagonist, Willy Lowman. The key element of the play encompasses the value and importance of the American dream of becoming successful. The play is set up in the 1940s era when men in America were determined to be successful, not only in the pursuit of provisioning for their families, but also in living a life where they could indulge in luxury. In particular, the longing for materialistic accumulations possesses Willy. He is thus in pursuit of the contemporary American dream, which is to strive for immense wealth that he never attains, and the greed controls his life to the extent that he becomes blind to lifes realities.…… [Read More]
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. 
The flute music derived the theme by playing it to creates a mood and soothing effect in…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman is the story of Willy Loman and his obsession with personal attractiveness, financial success and popularity as the most important traits in life, and the ones most likely to lead to his vision of what success is. As it becomes more and more clear to him that he is not a big success, that he is no longer handsome, and that he is not particularly popular, he cannot face this reality, and begins revisiting his past so strongly that the incidents he remembers seem real to him. The play is an example of ordinary people overwhelmed by circumstances. It can fairly be called a tragedy. The main character has a tragic flaw -- his obsession with superficial traits and his insistence that it is these superficial qualities that are important. This flaw leads to his downfall. He has methodically taught his sons to value superficial values…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman: The Relationship Between Linda and Willy
The marriage between Linda and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is typical of the early 20th century in many respects. The wife does not work and the husband acts as the provider for the family, despite the fact that the Loman family is struggling. Linda tries to economize by darning her stockings but she is forced to accept Willy as he is, no matter how imperfect. She often makes excuses for him, including when his sons question his authority. Although Linda is a kind woman, she is also very much an emotional enabler of Willy's many faults.
Throughout Willy's life, Linda acted as his cheerleader, no matter how much money he made. She often validated his sense of being persecuted by the world, even when this perspective was suspect: "Few men are idolized by their children…… [Read More]
Willy knew if he accepts his wife support, he would have to move on and change for the better, which did not fit his idea of being happy because he could not live in the past.
From a counselor point-of-view, it seems that Willy's emotions affected his rational decisions because he did not want ton accept the changes that were occurring in his life. The chances that emotionality would affect rational decision-making are very high since people who blame others for their problems usually live by their emotions, which does not include rational thinking. Furthermore, at times like these, it would not hurt for the counselor to interject their values in the session so that rational decision-making can have a chance to calm the client. This is true even though there are times where the counselor should not share their values with the client especially when he or she is…… [Read More]
Biff deliberately gives up all chances of graduating from high school, and leaves his college dreams behind.
For a long time, Biff feels some anxiety about his chosen lifestyle out est. He enjoys the freedom of his rootless life, but feels somewhat guilty that he has given up so much, after so much was expected of the early promise he showed. His cousin Bernard, less athletic but more studious, has distinguished himself as a lawyer. His Uncle Ben, illy's idol, found diamonds while wandering in the wilderness, while Biff has only, in his view, wasted his time doing very little, and making very little money.
hen he comes back to see his parents, Biff contemplates going into business with his unethical brother Happy, who is very much like a younger version of illy. But after a certain point, Biff realizes that this would simply be, in his words, "trying to…… [Read More]
Flight to Canada/Death of a Salesman
Flight to Canada, written in 1976 by Ishmael Reed, is sort of an atypical slave narrative taking place in the antebellum south (however, this is an antebellum south where airplanes already exists and Lincoln's assassination is seen on television) and depicting Raven Quickskill's and his fellow fugitive's escape from their master Arthur Swille. The entire plot revolves around the relentless search for Raven who is on his way to "Camelot" (i.e, Canada) while his fellow fugitives, Stray Leechfield and 40's go to whatever lengths possible in order to find their own freedom. However, what Reed illustrates in the story is that one cannot so easily escape slavery because slavery exists everywhere and some forms are harder to escape than others, but some bring on slavery themselves. In Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, Willie Loman also believes in a sort of Camelot --…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Throughout the play, Willy longs for the wealth, privilege, and equality the America was alleged to have been built upon until he can no longer deny that the promises of the American dream are just an illusion. While this is without a doubt a scathing critique of capitalism, at the same time, the play seems to be trying to show that nothing is truly real and once you remove all of the 'bells and whistles.' In other words, 'real' people, just like the American dream, are a myth. No one is immune to putting on a 'front' for other people, but when the opinions of others dictate your life and your decisions, this is when the human soul begins to deteriorate. Willy Loman is the characterization of this corrosion.
The death of the American Dream portrayed in the play, as well as the constant comparisons between the rich and the…… [Read More]
Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and the death of the American Dream:
The play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller shows the falseness of the American dream, namely that by obtaining material security for one's self and one's family, one finds true happiness. illy, even during his lifetime expresses dismay he has worked a lifetime to pay for his house, only to not have his favored elder son live in it. He takes his life, feeling that he is better off dead, rather than living and working on commission, and his wife's final outcry at his grave that the family now owns the home and is free and clear seems hollow -- clearly she would rather have a living husband and debt, than a dead husband, an empty life, and a full bank account. Happy states to Linda, "he had no right to do that. There was no…… [Read More]
i.148-9) his actions will cause, Oedipus sits in oblivion. He refuses to listen to his wife and brazenly tells her, "I will not listen; the truth must be made known" (II.iii.146). Iocaste morphs from being Oedipus' wife to his enemy because she is speaking words he does not want to hear. He tells her:
The Queen, like a woman, is perhaps ashamed
To think of my low origin. But I
Am a child of luck; I cannot be dishonored . . .
How could I wish that I were someone else?
How could I not be glad to know my birth? (II.iii.159-60, 164-5)
Oedipus' bad choice begins with arrogance and ends with isolation.
Like Oedipus, illy makes poor choices. He is blind like Oedipus because he does not see things as they actually are. He lives in a fantasy world and tells himself and his family lies in order to…… [Read More]
She says, "It seems to me that you're just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy dear, I can't cry" (Miller 1054). She cannot cry because she has cried it all out before, and she has nothing left to cry over. Living with Willy was obviously difficult, and it seems living without him may actually be easier in some ways.
Many people might see Linda as unsympathetic or manipulating because of the way she treats Willy and does not understand him. However, she seems to be uncomplicated and a bit simple, and tries to do the best with the resources she has. She has raised a dysfunctional family with Willy's help (or lack of it), but she has a good heart and she is a decent, caring woman who has had to deal with a lot in her life. That makes her a sympathetic character, as opposed to Willy,…… [Read More]
The truth is simply too difficult to accept, so he turns a blind eye to it. For illy, denial is easier than reinventing a new life. He believes that somehow, he will get an advance and "come home with a New York job" (Miller II.1070-1). He believes he can still get a promotion and never have to "get behind another wheel" (II.1071) again. These beliefs, while they are positive, are not productive for illy at this point if his life. He is old and his chances for great success are dwindling. He believes even if he is not the best salesman in the world, he certainly is not the worst and this level of mediocrity has satisfied him for far too long.
One of the saddest facts about illy's personality is the fact that he passes on his negative characteristics to Biff. illy instills his dreamy nature in Biff, which…… [Read More]
To make matters worse, he never even considers that he might not be as good as he thinks so he never seriously considers doing anything else. illy does not know when to cut his losses and let go. Charley gives us an accurate description of illy when he says, "For a salesman, there's no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back -- that's an earthquake" (1113). Charley's words capture the dreamy illy. He understood illy's blind nature and though he tried to help him, he knew it was worthless.
illy is also an example of what not to do when pursuing the American Dream because he cannot accept responsibility for his life…… [Read More]
As a king in ancient Greek literature, Oedipus was required to have a dramatically catastrophic fall, while modern literature needs a tragic hero who is an "everyman." But both suffered greatly in their own ways, and in ways that the audience both expected and regarded as essential. But while these two characters were both the central, tragic figure in their respective stories, their differences were a reflection of the role of dramatic tragedy in their societies.
The subject of ancient Greek literature was often the magnificent deeds of the gods and heroes, while everyday life was more often forgotten. As a result, the tragedies presented often had as their main character a great person, sometimes with a major personality flaw, who suffers extreme torments and a mighty plunge from an exalted position. Nothing exemplified this excessive amount of suffering than Oedipus, a man who became a king only to later…… [Read More]
American Dream" in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" with References to Mark Twain and Henry Thoreau
Arthur Miller's play entitled "Death of a Salesman" is a story about a man who has created a conflict with his family because of his great belief in the American Dream. Willy Loman, the main character in the story, makes a living by being a salesman, and the story revolves around his frustrations in life, particularly the strain in his relationship with his eldest son, iff Loman. Willy's frustrations stems from the fact that iff was not able to have a permanent and stable job, and is often fired from work because of some petty offense or misconduct on his son's part. Willy always insist that his son iff must develop relations with other people, and he must also have charisma and the ability to interact with them in order to achieve prosperity…… [Read More]
He continued to repeat the same behavior without at least trying to do something different. His dream probably kept him alive a little longer than he might have lived otherwise. As pathetic as his dream was, he owned it and believed he could reach it on some level. illy's tragic flaw begins with a delusion. He chooses to foster that delusion instead of moving in another direction. He takes the lazy way out of the situation because anything else would take him out of his comfort zone and he might actually develop into something successful. illy lies to himself and to those around him because that is easy as well. illy is a fictional character but he is far more real than many would like to admit. His humanity makes him worth studying because many people live in this kind of complacent, unfulfilled state. illy is his own obstacle and…… [Read More]
The writer's intention was most probably to emphasize how certain behavior can lead to a terrible outcome. This is obvious through harley, considering that he too is a business man, but that his self-control assistes him in understanding the difference between right or wrong. Surely, it would be absurd to claim that harley is not interested in becoming more successful than he is. However, this does not mean that he is willing to risk everything he has in order to have that happen. The fact that harley was satisfied with his position whereas Willy considered his best friend's success to be nothing in comparison to Dave Singleman's illustrates what each of the characters wanted from life. Through giving J.P. Morgan as an example, harley actually demonstrates that one does not necessary has to be well-liked in order for the whole world to appreciate him.
harley is decent enough to let…… [Read More]
He realizes that he has no direction and instead of facing it and doing something about it, he lashes out at his father. Fred Ribkoff asserts that Biff inherited a "sense of inadequacy and inferiority" (Ribkoff" and a "sense of shame" (Ribkoff) from his father. Domina suggests that Biff is the "clearest failure" (Domina) of the Loman clan, "unable as an adult to succeed or even persevere at any professional challenge" (Domina). Because illy never took the tie to prepare Biff for the real world, Biff emerged from high school unprepared and ill-equipped.
Biff Loman becomes what every parent should avoid creating in a child. illy enables Biff to be so many things but none of these things actually builds his character and causes him to be a productive member of society. Instead, he is a fledgling with no hope of ever achieving anything. This is not to say that…… [Read More]
Death penalty is generally conceived of as the supreme legal sanction, inflicted only against perpetrators of the most serious crimes. The human rights community has traditionally held a stance against the death penalty for a wide variety of reasons: critics argue that the death penalty is inhuman and degrading; that it is inappropriately applied and often politically motivated; and that rather than reducing crime, the viciousness of the punishment only serves as an inspiration to further violence.
Historically the death penalty has existed all around the world. Only since the beginning of the twentieth century has the death penalty been rejected by a growing number of people and states. International law discourages but does not prohibit it. Article 6 (paragraphs 2 and 5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political ights states that "sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman and the Piano Lesson
Comparison and Contrast of Willy Loman and Charley and Boy Willie and Berniece
Some individuals are under the impression that physical appearance and the way that they look are more important than education and the things that they know. In the play Death of a Salesman by Author Miller, the author paints a picture that illustrates why some people may feel this way. For example, Willy rates the value of appearance, of himself and those people in which he knows, much as a quality that is valued in a higher regard than other values and feels personally that the education his family receives is of little value comparatively. However, most individuals would argue that the importance of appearance is not equal to Willy's impression of it. For example, many people feel that education definitely more important, on many different levels, than physical…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller, and "The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" by Maxine Hong Kingston. Specifically, it will discuss conflict between generations and the "American Dream" in the two works. Both of these works clearly show the conflict between generations that often results from differing views of the "American Dream," the dream that is so elusive to so many of us.
Author Kingston's story is fact, rather than fiction, but the generational differences between her and her mother are still apparent. She remembers, "We'd have to face four- and five-day-old leftovers until we ate it all. The squid eye would keep appearing at breakfast and dinner until eaten. Sometimes brown masses sat on every dish. I have seen revulsion on the faces of visitors who've caught us at meals" Kingston 108). Her life is far different from her mother's, and she is firmly entrenched…… [Read More]
Death of a Salesman: Biff's monologue
I've got to make Pop see me. I've got to make Willy see me for who I really am, not the dream son he wanted me to be so many years ago, the smiling, smart-mouthed kid with the football.
They say you can't go home again. I say it's too easy to go home. Coming back home, and having to listen to all of Pop's fancy dreaming is really getting to me. My dad has never been able to see things as they really are -- all he has are his dreams of making it big some day. Well, it's pretty obvious that he's all washed up. Then again, so am I. I remember when I was in high school and I felt so carefree when I was the big shot, talking back to my teachers, and thinking I had it all figured…… [Read More]
Pygmalion -- George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw -- one of the most well regarded playwrights -- wrote this comedy and first presented it to the public in 1912. He took some of the substance of the original Greek myth of Pygmalion and turned it into a popular play. In Greek mythology Pygmalion actually came to fall in love with one of his sculptures, and the sculpture suddenly became a living human. But in this play two older gentlemen, Professor Higgins (who is a scientist studying the art of phonetics) and Colonel Pickering (a linguist who specializes in Indian dialects) meet in the rain at the start of this play.
Higgins makes a bet with Pickering that because of his great understanding of phonetics, he will be able to take the Covent Garden flower girl -- who speaks "cockney" which is not considered very high brow in England -- and…… [Read More]
All along, Miller's salesman was creating a tableau vivant, in his work and in his family. If you put the right characters on stage, you create the right image.
In illy Loman's mind, Dave Singleman, that "single" salesman, no doubt created the proper image. Even Singleman's death was that of a salesman, "hen he died -- and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven and Hartford, going into Boston -- when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral." A traveling salesman should die on the road, as Dave Singleman obviously did. hat greater tribute to a way of life than to die in the course of one's duty? Appropriately, as well, Loman's hero received the adulation of his peers - the ultimate complement in the eyes of a man…… [Read More]
Miller and Eliot on Beauty
Comparing and Contrasting "Beauty" in Miller and Eliot
Arthur Miller and T.S. Eliot are two 20th century American playwrights. hile the latter is more commonly noted for expatriating to Britain and writing some of the most memorable poetry of the early 20th century, the former is noted for his famous depiction of the common man's struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in Death of a Salesman. As distinct as the two writers may seem, they both conceive of and treat the theme of beauty -- Miller analyzing its absence in Salesman, and Eliot analyzing its abandonment in several poems like "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The asteland." This paper will compare and contrast both writers and show how they deal with the theme of beauty in their works.
The Absence of Beauty in Salesman and "Prufrock"
Beauty is missing from illy Loman's…… [Read More]