Many symbols are incorporated into the play "Death of a Sales man" and they in turn relate to both character and theme. The hose, tape recorder and the seeds are some of these symbols.
The hose in Miller's drama directly relates to the theme of d eath. The hose is a line attached to the gas main in Willy's house which allows him to snif f the gas. This action can be seen as Willy's suicide wish, and escape from the realities of life. As seen in the loss of his job and his failure to succeed. The hose also represents grief and deception. For when Linda, Willy's wife, finds the hose, she is distraught over its in tended purpose. The deceptive nature of the hose is apparent when Willy is confronted about it by Biff his son and Willy denies its existence. A similar denial is also evident when Willy is confronted with the tape recorder in Howard's office.
The tape recorder signifies the change in Willy's life throug h the advancement of technology. It also represents the end of Willy's career. This is brought about when Howard, Willy's boss and godson, shows the tape recorder to Willy and appe ars to be more interested in the sound and technology of the machine instead of Willy, who i s fighting for his job. Howard no longer need s Willy's services and without concern fires him. This , to Willy, was like, "eating the orange and throwing away the peel". However, Willy is partly to blame, as he does not accept change and wants to remain in the pas t. This is foreshadowed in the scene where Willy is left alone with the tape recorder and is unable to shut it off. Willy believes in using his old techniques and style to succeed. Nevertheless, in his job, it is not what you know, but it is who you know. Willy is not up to date with the business nor technology. Yet, Willy still has hope, and wishes to leave some fo rm of support behind for his family as illustrated in his planting of the seeds.
Willy feels that he must leave something...