Death of a Salesman: Analyzing Themes

Topics: All My Sons, Arthur Miller, Great Depression Pages: 3 (1236 words) Published: January 23, 2014
Willy Loman, the protagonist of “Death of a Salesman”, doesn’t believe in working hard yet expects success. In 1945 when Arthur Miller wrote this play, America was going through the Great Depression. Many immigrants were still looking for the American Dream when they had moved to the U.S., but not every dreamer became successful. "Death of a Salesman" is a tragic play. Some critics think it indictment of the American lifestyle, criticizing everyone from an ordinary worker to the capitalist system as a whole. Miller presents Willy Loman as a typical salesman in America which makes audiences relate to him because his career is an universal one. Willy Loman symbolizes a boastful, conceited and self-deceiving American, but everyone still sympathizes with this unlucky, depressed man. Despite Willy Loman’s failure to reach the American Dream, his story presents three themes: distorted reverie; deviated self-recognition; and deluded reality. Miller’s uncle, who was a salesman, inspired the play “Death of Salesman”. The meaning of Willy's name comes from his last name, Loman, means a low man. After his famous play “All My Sons”, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for the “Death of a Salesman”. This play demonstrates the crisis of society during the Great Depression effectively. Therefore, the play evokes resonance among readers who also had a hard time to fight the Great Depression. The first theme in the play is that Willy Loman has an incorrect perception about The American Dream and this not only causes his failure but also that of his sons. His brother, Ben’s success makes him think that riches are just around the corner, “When I was seventeen I walked into jungle and when I was twenty-one I walked out, and by God I was rich” said Ben (33). Willy became a salesman because he saw Dave Singleman, a successful salesman’s achievement. “I’ll never forget - and (Dave) pickup his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made...
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