Death Of A Salesman Literary Analysis

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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…
Linda’s stockings symbolize the humble origins of the Loman family, Linda’s personality, and serves as a reminder of Willy’s infidelity. The mistress’s stockings represent how Willy’s affair is the physical manifestation of his twisted idea of success. Throughout the play, Linda is always mending her stockings, which shows how poor they have been all their lives. It is obvious that she thinks the family cannot afford to buy a new pair because “they’re so expensive” (Miller 1492). When she mends her stocking, Linda’s interaction with Willy demonstrates her personality of Willy’s loyal wife, who has made many sacrifices in order to sustain him. However, she shows a streak of independence when Willy commands her to throw her stockings away – “I won’t have you mending stockings in the house! Now throw them out!” (Miller 1492) – she pretends obey him, but instead “puts the stockings in the pocket” (Miller 1492). This implies that Linda will continue later to mend and use them, despite Willy’s orders. Linda does not particularly care about their economic status, but is afraid to argue with Willy, so she does what she can to help Willy maintain the facade of their success. However, when he saw her mending the stockings, Willy is reminded of his failure as a…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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