June 17, 2010
The Struggle Within
There is a complete descent into madness evident in Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” The struggle Willy Lowman has come to endure during a life of lies and false hope is portrayed very well by Miller’s use of dialogue, stage comments, prologue, and time and perhaps best shown by the use of dialogue and character interaction. By putting all of these elements to good use Miller paints a perfect picture as our main character Willy Lowman quickly fails to see the distinction between the fantasy he has created and the reality that has come about by a lifetime of deceit. Miller’s use of prologue is evident from the very beginning of the play.”Before us is the salesman’s house. We are aware of towering, angular shapes behind it, surrounding it on all sides. Only the blue light of the sky falls upon the house and forestage; the surrounding area shows an angry glow of orange.”(DiYanni 1212-1213) The opening lines explain to us exactly what we should be seeing down to the last detail. There is now a vivid picture of what we, as readers, are seeing regardless if we are seeing a live performance or simply reading the play itself.
Though the use of prologue is extremely important in any play, however, it would not be solidified without excellent use of stage comments before the characters’ individual lines. When stage comments are used well it is easier to understand what is happening and how the characters are speaking to each other. For example Willy: (worried and angered): There’s such an undercurrent in him. He became a moody man. Did he apologize when I left this morning? (DiYanni 1215) Just by telling us Willy’s feelings before he spoke we know how he spoke to Linda (his wife) and what tone he is taking with her. We can also derive Willy’s state of mind from these few simple words before he speaks. When dialogue and character interaction are...