Alienation in Death of a Salesman

Topics: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Family Pages: 3 (1024 words) Published: November 23, 2005
Alienation in Death of a Salesman

It is often said that society, family and your inner self is very judgemental. Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman tells the story of Willy Loman, a salesman living in Brooklyn, New York and his family. Willy knows deep down what his capabilities and problems are which is why he exiles himself socially. Biff Loman, Willy's eldest son, is misunderstood but it is known that Willy has affected his life since Biff was a young man causing him to be isolated from his father and family. Happy Loman, younger son of Willy, is the most successful of his brother and father however he is isolated from society and his co-workers. Alienation is displayed in many ways throughout the play where Willy, Biff and Happy are isolated from themselves, from society and from their families.

Willy was not successful as a salesman which eventually caused him to be isolated from himself. Subconsciously, Willy knows that he is a failure and that he cannot provide for his family. This is why he feels alienated, which could be the reason for his "conversations" because he feels he can't talk to anybody. "I've got nobody to talk to, Ben." (II, 126) Willy talks to himself to look for comfort and he seeks advice from his dead brother Ben on how to become successful. Willy's inability to provide for his family affects their view on him. Also, when Willy speaks to himself it is understood that his mentality is lost. "Let me talk to you-I got nobody to talk to." (II, 93) Willy explained to Bernard that he has nobody to talk to anymore not even his own family. Willy has lost the respect of many people including his family. He is isolated to a degree where he can't talk to anyone but himself. Willy's alienation from himself is caused by his ignorance to understand that his destiny was not to become a salesman which in the end is the reason of his "conversations" and his isolation from himself.

Biff, a thirty-four year old man, realizes his whole life...

Cited: Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Toronto: Penguin Group, 1977.
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