Motifs In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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The devices of literature often remain constant throughout the various mediums of writing, be it a novel or a scholarly essay. They are used by the author as a means for conveying pivotal messages or for supporting an argument. In the dramatic performance of “Death of a Salesman,” Arthur Miller utilizes the literary device of motifs to introduce the audience to several ideals the play tackles. Motifs are recurrent elements that serve to establish a tone, and enable readers to see the main themes that the author is trying to express. One of the most common and reoccurring motifs is people’s clothing. Miller uses the comparison of women’s stockings, Biff’s elements of clothes, and Dave Singleman’s slippers to scrutinize the meaning of success.…show more content…
He mentions them to justify his ambitions to be a salesman, when he talks with Howard, his boss. For Willy, those “green velvet slippers” is the core to what he has based his life on. He met Dave Singleman when he was a young man and it dramatically changed his life. He saw a man who was “eighty-four years old, and he’d drummed merchandise in thirty-one states” (Miller 1517-18). Willy recalls that Dave was so skillfull and respected that could sell goods without even leaving his room by just calling the buyers, he would “go up to his room, put his green velvet slippers – I’ll never forget – and … made his living” (Miller 1518). Dave was “remembered and loved and helped by so many people” (Miller 1518), which is what Willy wanted so desperately his whole entire life. When Dave died, “he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker” (Miller 1518). Hundreds of people were attending Singleman’s funeral. Therefore, Willy imagines a similar funeral after his death and is convinced that it would prove to his sons that he has not wasted his life. Those “green velvet slippers” embodies Willy’s belief that being a successful salesman is being popular, loved by everyone, and able to earn good money even at an old
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