Death of a Salesman

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The struggle for financial stability and one’s rightful place in society is a key theme throughout Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman”. According to Diyanni, Marxism is defined as follows, “how the middle-class/bourgeois values lead to the control and suppression of the working classes” (1571). “Death of a Salesman” illustrates a Marxist perspective, that happiness and success in life is measured by one’s success in the working world, by Biff’s choice of lifestyle, Ben’s achievement in the jungle and Willy’s inevitable thrive for economical success.

A Marxist perspective is applied to Biff’s character (Willy’s son) to the fullest in this society’s time period. Biff is a ‘hands on’ type of guy that would much rather work outside on a farm to create a living, this disobeys the expected social norm because he does not want to work for someone else. It is evident to the reader that Willy cannot understand why his son would rather be outside than to take on a respectable job, such as a salesman, throughout a conversation with Linda. Linda urges Willy to understand that Biff must take time to ‘find himself’; Willy’s reaction is as follows, “How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years ago now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!” (1215). Willy’s reaction to Biff’s primary choice of lifestyle illustrates to the reader Willy’s emphasis of success in the economy. Without success as a salesman, Biff is seen as a drifter, an unacceptable choice, because it does not follow the norm.

As Willy’s mind gradually drifted farther away, his brother, Ben came into the play, through one of Willy’s daydreams, to tell about his gracious victory of conquering the ‘jungle’. During one of Willy’s memories he relives a conversation between Ben, Biff and Happy, “Why, boys, when I was...
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