Significance of the Opening Scene in Death of a Salesman.

Topics: House, Death of a Salesman, Apartment Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: October 26, 2010
Consider the significance of the opening scene in Death of a salesman.

Arthur Miller begins the play with a conversation between Willy and Linda who is a solid support and aid to Willy, the protagonist who is a very troubled old man with an apparent misconception of reality. From the very first lines, the audience is made known about Willy’s state of disarray – “It’s all right. I came back”. The audience is also constantly presented with an image of Willy ‘pressing two fingers against his eyes’ which show his signs of stress and anxiety. Not only his actions, but also his inconsistency of ideas and contradictions of his words represent his broken, fragmented state of mind – at one point, he calls Biff “a lazy bum” and immediately says “There is one thing about Biff – he’s not lazy”. Willy shows high expectations of his children, possibly because he hasn’t done so well himself and these high expectations are his way of showing his fanatical desire for his children to succeed in life, which confirms later in the play. Willy’s state of mind can easily be represented by the house that is hemmed in by the apartment buildings that surround Lomans’ fragile-seeming home; the new apartment houses symbolize the fast pace at which America and its society has moved on at. However, Lomans still live in a quaint little house, which may also signify the position of Willy Loman in this society – it may be that Willy is incapable of changing or not wanting to change with the pace that the life around him has changed. This may be the reason why Willy constantly loses himself in reminiscences, idealizing the past and showing his of inability to move on from the olden days. Most obvious theme that has started developing from the very first lines of the play is the reality and the fantasy that Willy Loman struggles to separate. He consistently contradicts himself, for example with the opening windshield of the car, he describes the sensation of the wind blowing over him and...
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