Death of a Salesman and the Playboy of the Western World “While...

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Death of a Salesman and the Playboy of the Western World “While the Momentum of the Play Is Carried by Major Characters, There Is Often a Significant Minor Character Who Is a Catalyst for Change or Enlightenment.” Compar

By | March 2009
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Death of a Salesman and The Playboy of the Western World

“While the momentum of the play is carried by major characters, there is often a significant minor character who is a catalyst for change or enlightenment.” Compare the role of a significant minor character in plays you have studied, showing how these characters contribute to the dramatic action.

In both Death of a Salesman and The Playboy of the Western World minor characters play a fundamental role and contribute to the dramatic action in many different ways. Linda in Death of a Salesman is a crucial minor character who helps to unfold the plot of the play by significantly affecting the protagonist of the play Willy. In The Playboy of the Western World Widow Quinn is an important minor character which helps the audience to visualise the protagonist Christy’s different faces. They are both strong female characters who effectively manage change the development of the major characters of the plays in different ways. It is important to realise that Linda is Willy’s wife whereas Widow Quinn is merely a woman interested in Christy. Therefore, their different relationships with the major characters are important in revealing their actions with them.

Both minor characters are presented differently to the audience. This is important in unfolding their relationship with other characters in the plays. Linda in Death of a Salesman is directly presented to the audience as being a loving wife in her conversation with Willy when he acknowledges that she is caring and wonderful, ‘You’re my foundation and support Linda’. In contrast, Shawn Keogh and Pegeen Mike act as dramatic devices to present Widow Quinn to the audience. This is evident in their conversation when Shawn says. ‘Would I fetch you the Widow Quinn, maybe?’ and Pegeen responds, ‘Is it the like of that murderer? You’ll not, surely.’ A negative image of Widow Quinn is created in the minds of the audience and this serves to contrast later on in...
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