Death Of A Salesman Themes

Monday, January 3, 2022 2:43:03 AM

Death Of A Salesman Themes

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'Death of a Salesman': context, play, characters, themes and symbols! - Narrator: Barbara Njau

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The life trajectory of his brother Ben influenced him in that regard. Those standards, however, are impossible, and, over the course of his lifetime, Willy and his sons fall short of it. Willy buys into his distorted philosophy so thoroughly that he neglects what is actually good in his life, such as the love of his family, in order to pursue an ideal of success that—he hopes—will bring his family security. Willy's arc demonstrates how the American dream and its aspirational nature, which might be quite commendable per se, turns individuals into commodities that are only measured by their financial worth. In fact, even his demise at the end of the play is tied to the American dream: he ends his life so that he can, at least, give his family the money of his life insurance policy.

Family relationships are what makes Death of a Salesman a universal play. In fact, when the play was produced in China in , the actors had no trouble understanding the themes of the play—the relationship between a father and his sons or between husband and wife, or two brothers of different dispositions, were very intelligible to Chinese audiences and performers.

The central conflict of the play concerns Willy and his elder son Biff, who showed great promise as a young athlete and ladies' man while in high school. His adulthood, however was marked by thievery and lack of direction. Willy's younger son, Happy, has a more defined and secure career path, but he is a shallow character. The twisted beliefs Willy instilled in his sons, namely luck over hard work and likability over expertise, led them to disappoint both him and themselves as adults. By presenting them with the dream of grand, easy success, he overwhelmed his sons, and this is true both of Biff and Happy, who produce nothing substantial.

Willy, at 63, is still working, trying to plant seeds in the middle of the night, in order to give his family sustenance. Biff realizes, at the play's climax, that only by escaping from the dream that Willy has instilled in him will father and son be free to pursue fulfilling lives. Happy never realizes this, and at the end of the play he vows to continue in his father's footsteps, pursuing an American dream that will leave him empty and alone. Willy's role as a provider in regards to Linda is equally fraught. Still, he fails to realize that what his wife wants is love and not financial security. Both Linda Loman and the Woman in Boston are seen holding them.

The title forces the reader to wonder throughout the entire play when and how Willy is going to die, and what will happen to his family. The whole story is Willy trying to hold on to what little sanity he has left, while everyday his family grows more scared and angry. Willy finally loses it all and kills himself by crashing his car. This is the climax of Death of a Salesman , and the music in the stage directions add drama to the last scene.

Very few people attend Willy's funeral, contrary to his desire to have a big "salesman" funeral. This gives rise to the first major theme, desertion. Many people had deserted Willy during his lifetime, including both his father and his brother. Since Willy never had a true family during his childhood, he was always striving to create the perfect family that he envisioned in his mind. His constant strive for perfection made it hard for him to enjoy his life.

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