Death of a salesman
- Pages: 7
- Word count: 1562
- Category: Death of a Salesman
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The play death of a salesman was written by Arthur Miller in 1949, it was written when the American dream played an active part in life. The play is about the character Willy Loman who’s life basically evolves the American dream, but in the end his life results in a tragedy. Miller claims ” I set out not to write a tragedy but the truth as I saw it .. ” American dream Willy Loman along with many other Americans was a great believer in the American dream. The American dream as it stands is about how successful people are .
Many peoples lives evolve around materialism , the need to have possession , and to be rich. This dream is unrealistic and based on the wealth of a family or person. America ran by a capitalist system which played a great part in the American dream. Death of a salesman does not concentrate on this but is based on one mans dreams, life and lies. Willy had many ambitions but these were overthrown by greed, competition, and lust. Ultimately like any tragedy the end leads to death. Death by the ruthless American dream which is unrealistic and survives in Willys everyday life .
Willy’s main life was lived subconsciously where he was most happy. The dictionaries definition of a tragedy is : erious play, film etc. in which the hero is destroyed by a personal failing in adverse circumstances. The modern idea of a 20th century hero can be traced back to the Shakespearean times ,and then back even further to the time of the Greeks. The classical ancient drama was inspired and influenced by the Greeks and Roman culture. A classic Greek tragedy consists of : a character flaw : which ultimately leads to death .
Mistakes : which are made throughout the play are then re-corrected by other characters and they don’t make the same mistakes. Death : where the main character dies through his character flaw. Noble birth : the main character is born into royalty or the most highest. All classical tragedies consist of these aspects: The first aspect was a fatal character flaw this is a flaw in which the person has, the person with the flaw was mainly if not always the person with the leading role. This flaw is always kept throughout the play and ultimately towards the end of the play this character flaw kills the character.
The next aspect is mistakes many people throughout the play make mistakes including the main character, but the people who live and work around the main character generally learn through his mistakes. By the end of he tragedy everybody has learnt from the mistakes made by the other people and everybody will set about making the right. The next aspect which makes up the tragedy is the death, this is followed by the character getting further in to his character flaw. The character flaw is the cause of the death.
The death is not always accidental the audience know that the death will come upon the character. In the case of Death of a salesman Willy Loman knew the death would come upon him. The last aspect and probably the main one in this case is the noble birth because to follow the pattern of a classical tragedy the character has to e born of noble birth and in this play Willy Loman is not born of noble birth, this makes Arthur Millers play unique as it doesn’t fit into the classical tragedy column yet many people would say that it is a classical tragedy.
We know from reading the play that his father made and sold flutes for a living, we don’t hear anything about Willy’s mother but from Willy’s lifestyle we know that he was definitely not born of noble birth. So from all this we can gather that Willy Loman is just an average American citizen longing to “fit in” by being successful and achieving his dreams. By Arthur Miller not making Willy born of noble birth we can come to the conclusion that this is a modern play. Arthur Miller wanted to portray the truth therefore this was made possible by applying it to an average persons life.
Like Shakespeare s plays each main character has a fatal character flaw . By reading Death of a salesman we can extract that Willy Loman’s character flaw was his strong belief in the “American dream” he lived in his dreams and beliefs and was very easily persuaded. Throughout his life Willy never came to terms with reality he was constantly living his life in the past and in is dreams where he appeared the happiest. Willy always critises and contradicts especially with his family. I think that this is because he is unable to understand why everybody does what they do and I personally don’t think that he is aware of what’s going on .
Willy is a very contradicting man one minute he will say something and then he totally changes it around and says the complete opposite. ” Biff is just a lazy bum ! ” “if there’s one thing he’s not that is lazy, Biff Loman is not lazy” Here is a typical example of Willy’s contradictions. Willy can be seen as many things but one main one is mistaken, he has strange ideas and makes any mistakes and throughout the play everybody learns from theses mistakes except from Happy and Happy wants to live Willy’s dream.
Many people never understood Willy but Biff did and at Willys funeral Biff came to the wise conclusion that he had all the wrong dreams. “he had all the wrong dreams, All, all wrong. ” “he never knew who he was” in these quotations Biff excuses Willys life and faults and decides that it’s your dreams that count or at least they did to Willy. To Willy, death was a sacrifice which he took in order to give something to Biff. We can argue that Willy was a selfish man but his death roves otherwise, yet he did leave all his money to Biff and not to Happy.
Here this shows favoritism we have seen this throughout the story. This could have been for a number of reasons. He Wanted Biff to be like him, he didn’t believe enough I Happy, or guilt he felt guilty about the woman therefore giving the guilt money to Biff. Or it could simply be expectation, Biff was expected to do well at school well at football and then do even better in later life yet Biff didn’t but Willy failed to realise this. Willys death was through his own choice but I think in the long run the
American dream did kill him as although his life he valued success and he was shown this throughout the American dream so by buying things to live up to this materialism age he has grown into to debt and unhappiness. Willy like Macbeth was punished by powers out of his controls he was being punished by the capitalist system and the American Dream like Macbeth was being punished by the witches and greed. In conclusion I do think that the play ” death of a salesman” is a tragedy as it’s about one mans dreams that are in some way destorted and he is living an unrealistic life.
Whilst I was reading this play I felt lots of motions for Willy. I looked up to him for his bravery, I also thought he had a stubborn streak but he was a very determined man. Willy was a very insecure man this made me feel compassionate for him and his family because the more you begin to feel something then the more it shows in your everyday life. “the way they boxed us in here. Bricks and windows, windows and bricks. ” This quotation is what Willy is saying about his house and the way he feels about being hemmed in by his surroundings. Biff made an emotive speech in Franks chop house which makes the audience feel pity for the family.
Miss Forsythe you’ve just seen a prince walk by. A fine troubled prince. A hard working unappreciated prince. A pal, you understand? A good companion. Always for his boys. ” This is a good example of what Biff actually thought of him he referred to him as a prince this means that Biff highly respected Willy for everything. Biff also used the term “pal” this meaning that he is a friend, generally refer to one of our close friends as a “pal” so Biff obviously values Willy as a highly honorable man. Everybody in the Loman family were very self-centered, contradicting, and unhappy, this is for everybody except Linda
Loman. Linda Loman was remarkably buoyant with the way that the family were. Linda respected Willy and his decisions, but Linda mainly did everything for the family to please them. She kept Willy happy that was her ultimate aim in life simply because she loved Willy. Linda hated when the due respect wasn’t paid to Willy. “Then make Charley your father, Biff. You can’t do that , can you ? I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him.