Death of a Salesman

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Topics: Truth
Into- 150
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman reflects the numerous issues of the American post-war period of the late 1940's when societal issues such as dishonesty and betrayal; and the loss of identity were predominantly experienced by Americans in 1949. Hence, Miller’s involvement of these contemporary post war era dilemmas enlightened people to quest for the ultimate truth. Thus, Miller’s utilisation of important ideas such as dishonesty and betrayal; and the loss of identity empower the audience to gain an insight into the late 1940’s philosophy of reality.
The Loman family’s demise stems from Miller’s utilisation of the idea of dishonesty and betrayal which can be predominantly seen throughout the play. Betrayal and dishonesty is perceived through Willy’s primary obsession of Biff’s betrayal of Willy’s ambitions for Biff. The theme of betrayal and dishonesty unveils the breakdown of the Loman family as it was built on disloyalty. This is demonstrated through the use of motif of Willy’s strange obsession with the state of Linda’s stockings, “I won’t have you mending stockings in this house… throw them out!”, foreshadows his flashback to Biff’s discovery of Willy’s infidelity. The stockings adopt a metaphorical weight as a symbol of Willy’s guilt due to his infidelity. The Woman’s new stockings are significant for Willy’s vanity and financial prosperity which consequently allowed him to; provide for his family, ease his guilt and suppress his memory of his infidelity with the Woman.
Willy throughout the play continues to be dishonest with himself. This is evident through Willy’s conversation with Bernard in Act 2, “But he did… he took so many correspondence courses…radio mechanics…television…” which demonstrates Willy’s deceit to himself of his son’s achievements. Thus the use of motif and symbols, betrayal and dishonesty leads to the quest for truth.
Arthur Miller utilisation of the concept of loss of identity reflects the issues of post-world-war two

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