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Death of a Salesman

By Tyboo1 Apr 13, 2013 1273 Words
Death of a Salesman

In the play “Death of a Salesman” the major character was the father Willy Loman. He was the father of two sons Biff and Buddy Loman and a busy business man who had a dream that he wanted to pursue. “Death of a Salesman” is based on painful conflict with a family and it also talks about family issues that are going on within that household. Not only is Willy Loman the chief character of the play but it is primarily from his psychological perspective that the play's dramatic action derives its meaning.(By Leah Hadomi) The actual events enacted in his presence become the trigger for Willy's recollections and fantasies which constitute the play's imaginary sequences.(By Leah Hadomi) His ideal self-image and the reality of his actual behavior and circumstances are the poles of both his inner existence and his dramatic interactions with the other characters of the play.(By Leah Hadomi) The personalities of each of the dramatis personae are connected specifically with a particular feature of Willy's inner self, with a particular stance he has adopted toward his environment, or with one of the values in which he has educated his sons.(By Leah Hadomi) Thus the conduct of the play's other characters is in great measure both the effect of his illusory perception of external reality and the cause of his deepening submersion in the world of his fantasies.(By Leah Hadomi) When reality becomes too painful, Willy retreats into a dream world consisting of his roseate recollections of the past and of fantasies in which he fulfills the aspirations the attainment of which has eluded him in life.(By Leah Hadomi) Although his memories are based on actual events, these are falsified in his mind by wishful thinking about how they ought to have turned out.(By Leah Hadomi) Hence in Willy's mind, reality as it is immediately experienced by him merges in his consciousness with his recollection of distant events to form a seamless continuum of past and present time. (By Leah Hadomi) One of his famous quotes in this play was “A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man” basically saying that no matter what you do or how much money you make, you still know that you have done your best to provide for your family, even though it has been a struggle. Willy Loman is the salesman around whom the play is constructed.(By David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato) He is sixty-three years old, desperate to achieve even a small measure of the success to which he has always aspired, and cannot face the reality that he has misdirected his energies and talents chasing a dream that never had any chance of materializing.(By David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato) Willy’s flashbacks and fantasies comprise a large part of the play and inform the audience about his past, the histories of the other characters, how he has become what he is in the present, and perhaps most importantly, his ideal self.(By David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato) In the scenes which take place in present time, Willy is highly emotional, unstable, uncertain at times, highly contradictory, and seems worn down by life.(By David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato) In his flashbacks and fantasies, however, Willy is a more loving father and husband, a more capable provider; he is cheerful, light-hearted, and self-assured.(By David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato) Willy and his two sons, Biff, age thirty-four, and Happy, age thirty-two, are presented throughout the play as perpetual adolescents, woefully unable or unwilling to make the big leap from carefree childhood to responsible adulthood.(By Terry W. Thompson) Willy believes in the American Dream of easy success and wealth, but he never achieves it. Willy's failure to recognize the anguished offered to him by his family is what caused a real tragedy in the play. Willy Loman is not a case study to be argued or defended, but a representative character to be "felt" and "experienced.(By Robert A. Martin) " Still, in “Death of a Salesman” we feel compelled to ask: "Who Is Willy Loman?" for if we do not understand him and do not know who he is, we can hardly understand his death.(By Robert A. Martin) We may be moved by Willy; but we also want to know what our responses are about.(By Robert A. Martin) We have, in other words, an emotional investment in watching and hearing him with his family.(By Robert A. Martin) Willy Loman reconstructs the past "not chronologically as in flashback, but dynamically with the inner logic of his erupting volcanic unconscious" (Schneider 252.) This "visualized psychoanalytic interpretation woven into reality" (Schneider 253) serves as Miller's principal dramatic method--the simultaneous existence of the past and present in Willy's disordered mind.(By Frank Ardolino) Miller has said that he was obsessed with "a mode that would open a man's head for a play to take place inside it, evolving through concurrent rather than consecutive actions," which "turned him [Willy] to see present through past and past through present, a form that would be a collecting point for all that his society had poured into him".(By Frank Ardolino) Through this story there was a lot of abandonment and betrayal. Willy was abandoned many times, like when his father left him and Ben at young age. He left them with no money nor a legacy to tell. Eventually Ben leaves for Alaska, leaving Willy to lose himself in a vision of the American Dream. The result of these early experiences caused Willy develops a fear of abandonment, which made him want his family to be like the American Dream. The effort to raise his two perfect sons reflected on his inability to understand reality. Willy’s obsession throughout the play is what he considered to be Biffs’ betrayal of his ambitions for him. Willy believes that he has the right to expect a lot to come from Biff and for him to fulfill the goals that he had set. When Biff walks out on Willy’s ambitions for him, Willy take this rejection as a personal affront he associates it with “insult” and “spite”. Willy assumes that Biffs’ betrayal stems from Biffs’ discovery of Willy’s affair with “The Woman” a betrayal of Linda’s love. Willy also feels that Biff has betrayed him; Biff feels that Willy is a “phony little fake,” and has betrayed him with his bad lies. (By Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig.)(Arthur Miller) In conclusion I think Mr. Arthur Miller did a great job on this play and how he compared his characters to his own personal life and struggles. I chose to write about Millers character Willy Loman because I have had a relative that has experienced the same thing that Willy experienced in the play, the only thing different is that he did not die. My relative actually for filled his American Dream and is still continuing to do so. As I have read about and researched on this play, I have found out that “Death of a Salesman” was one of Mr. Millers awarding plays. It received many awards such as, the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for being the best play and even aired on Broadway. Even though he did not for fill his American Dream, no matter what he had to go through, he still kept his head up and always had that dream that his sons would do better with their lives.

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