Death of a Salesman Title Significance

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(2) Sometimes the full significance of the title of a play is not always as obvious as it might be.

Consider such a play and show how after close study the significance of the title becomes clear.

A play in which the title is significant but not obviously so is “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. In “Death of a Salesman” Miller explores the capitalism of 1940s America and how the American Dream does not benefit everyone in the business world.

Willy Loman, the main character in the play, became a salesman after the death of another elderly salesman who could make money without leaving his hotel room. It was this salesman and how well liked he was that inspired Willy to become a salesman as he wanted to be well liked as Dave Singleman. Willy mentions on multiple occasions how well liked he was and that at his own funeral he wanted many people to be present as they had been at Dave Singleman’s funeral “When he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral.” Like Dave Singleman Willy wanted people to come from all over the country to mourn him this sympathy towards him as this is a highly unlikely situation and he therefore is setting himself and his family into a deluded scene that will never be witnessed.

Willy also wants to die the honourable death, which he now associates with being a salesman as he idolises Dave Singleman “He died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers...” However at the conclusion of the play it is clear that Willy Loman did not die the honourable death he so desired as no one from the business world arrived at his funeral only his wife, two sons, Charley and Bernard were present which also demonstrates how deluded Willy was in the life he led as he honestly believed his funeral would be of a similar scale to Dave Singleman’s. This evokes sympathy towards Willy as he did not die his ideal death of a salesman and seems to live by measuring how successful people are by the size of their funeral and...
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