Death of a Salesman Essays

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    Tragedy can spread. In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is the protagonist, however he not the only person in the play who’s story ends tragically. His view on life spreads to those close to him. Primarily, Willy teaches it to his children who look up to him while his wife simply attaches herself to him, rooting for him in blind support while really she should be waking him up to the cold and dark reality that is their life. Throughout the play, the Loman family evolves differently.

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    Willy’s American Dream The tragic play of Death of a salesman by Arthur Miller tells a story about an old man of 84 years old named Willy. Willy was captured by the American dream. He believed that hard work and ambitions could take him to a life of fame and popularity like the american dream was supposed to be. In Death of a salesman, the american dream reveals disappointment, failure and loss of hope. Thus showing that the american dream is not a great dream after all.

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    Arthur Miller (1915– 2005) was the writer of articles, diaries, short stories, a novel, and a kids ' book, yet is best known for his in excess of two dozen plays, which incorporate the original American dramatizations Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. A staunch nationalist and humanist, Miller 's work passes on a profoundly moral viewpoint whereby all people have an obligation both to themselves and to the general public in which they should live. Dissimilar to a considerable lot of his peers, Miller kept up his hopefulness that regardless of mankind 's terrible inclination toward disloyalty, individuals could rise above this and be better. In the production of Death of a Salesman, alongside its executive Elia Kazan and architect Jo Mielziner,

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    According to Aristotle, there are four main characteristics that a tragic hero has. The first trait that a tragic hero should have is noble stature. A lot of the time, this means that he is no at ordinary man, but one that has outstanding greatness. The more noble the tragic hero is, the more upset the audience gets during their downfall. Although Willy Loman is a common man, he is very relatable to the audience.

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    The American Dream, as defined by James Truslow Adams, is that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” In Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, the characters are shown to be chasing after the idea of the American Dream, especially Willy, the protagonist of the play. Willy constantly and desperately pursues his own version of the American dream with hard work and perseverance. To Willy, the American Dream meant becoming prosperous and successful as a salesman while also becoming well-known throughout the sales network. However, despite his efforts and firm determination, the American Dream seemed to be always out of his reach.

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    Misconception(s) Throughout the play, Willy is constantly trying to convince himself and others that he is a good salesman. He does this knowing that he is not a good salesman. He is looked at as being a complete disappointment to his loved ones. Perpetuate/Shatter Shatter Result

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    “Biff, after he has discovered his identity, is able to speak forcibly and in simple language which round like everyday speech, though it is of course, full of the devices of rhetoric. It is interesting moving speech, his emotion is dumb, and so is Willy’s response. “Happy and Howard need only a superficial language because they are using speech as a sort of provocative shell. Charley also is keeping emotion at arm’s length, but he expresses himself with a crisp, wise-cracking force. ‘Can’t we do something about the walls?’

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    The idea of what a tragic hero can be seen as has changed slightly through the course of time. Currently, the definition of a tragic hero according to dictionary.com is a “great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat.” Although this is a highly accepted definition, it is not exactly what Arthur Miller had in mind, what Miller viewed as a tragic hero was slightly different. Most times whenever the words “tragic hero” come to mind, someone of great power and royalty are thought of, take for example Prince Hamlet, Jay Gatsby, Oedipus, etc. All of these characters have at least one shared trait, they are either wealthy, royalty, powerful or a combination of these three.

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    The American Dream - Death of a Salesman “The hope for a better tomorrow has no doubt been with the human race for thousands of years, but for a very long time that hope, for the most part, remained dim as the battle for survival dominated life,” (DeLair 1). The definition of the American Dream by James Adams has a major influence on people in the 1950’s. The American Dream can be portrayed in many ways, and many have their own opinion about the American dream; from life experiences, stories, and movies, the American dream has influenced people, giving them strives and motives to succeed in their dreams. Everyone has their own American Dream, in different perspectives; “Death of a Salesman,” by Arthur Miller represents the American Dream

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    Death of a Salesman has been extremely influential in regards to theatrical performance and it has been performed by multiple different theatre groups. It has also been made into a movie, which has actors such as Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman, John Malkovich as Biff Loman, and Kate Reid as Linda Loman. All of these actors’ performances were true to the character and were extremely realistic. It was easy for the audience to get caught up in the characters that these actors portrayed. Throughout the movie, Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, and Kate Reid all provided an outstanding performance by ensuring that their facial expressions, body language, and emotions always shined through all the while they were creating realistic characters that were easily believable by the audience.

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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.

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    The Greatest Hurdle On the journey to success, the biggest obstacle individuals face is self-doubt. This obstacle restricts them from realizing their true potential and causes them to underestimate their talents. It also makes them believe they are not extraordinary and as a result, makes them limit their own greatness. Self-doubt makes individuals believe they are incapable of accomplishing certain tasks and because of this, causes them to miss out on valuable opportunities.

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    The illusionary ideals within the American Dream The American Dream often represents the values where ambitions and hard work is present. It does also represent the possibilities a person has to become successful in life, no matter what the surrounding circumstances are. The American Dream indicates that one can be accomplished and successful if one works hard and has the desire to succeed in life. (Fossum & Roth, 1981, p. 6-7) However, is this the accurate reality of the American Dream?

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    Great fortune. Freedom. Happiness. Passion. No worries.

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    "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” (Brainy). When people are passionate about something it spreads like a wildfire. Leaders have a unique ability to captivate their followers and persuade them to follow their dreams. When a leader sets their mind to something, they are unstoppable. Willy, from A Death of Salesman, Jesse, from Sway, and Mr. Keating, from Dead Poets Society show that passion for a person or issue is the only successful way to lead a group of followers.

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    A tragic hero is a literary character that makes a judgment error that leads to his or her downfall. Traditionally, a tragic hero is reserved only for the elite, or noble members of society. However, Miller believes that the common man is equally subject to tragedy as the highest kings are. In The Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller portrays the protagonist, Willy Loman as a tragic hero. Willy Loman is a financially struggling man in his sixties looking for success for him and his family.

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    In “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “A Streetcar named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, both authors analyze men and masculinity through their male protagonists. The male protagonists under analysis are Willy Loman 's, Harold Mitchell, and Stanley Kowalski. All of these males mistreat their women; this mistreatment is a result of several factors, such as alcoholism and the power struggle to maintain masculinity. Both Williams and Miller use devices such as imagery, symbolism, setting, musical indicators, stage directions setting and character to illustrate men and masculinity with the main protagonists and the relationship the named with their female partners.

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    The prime example of an American tragedy can be found within Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Showcasing a dysfunctional family, the Loman's, and the issues plaguing each of the family members, none of them meet the depressingly low standard of the father, Willy Loman. From an overall drab and tired appearance to the flashbacks that constantly engulf him, Willy Loman stands as the highlight of what a skewed American Dream can do to a person. However, is this the only cause behind Willy Loman's actions? It can be seen that Willy not only has mental issues, but these issues contaminate the lives of those around him.

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    Willy Loman is the definition of tragic. His father abandoned him as a child. This event created the desire within Willy to be liked by everyone. After observing Dave Singleman’s funeral, and the hundreds of people that attended, he knew he must become a salesman. Then everyone would know and love him.

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    The economic circumstances and postwar period around the 1940s created a mentality shift with the American people. Americans began to live in a society where life and success had a different meaning. As a result this changed citizens’ personalities and attitudes toward life. Actually the “Introduction” stated that within this period “conflicts between conformity and individuality, tradition and innovation, stability and disruption characterized the literature of the period as they also shaped the historical and cultural milieu” (Baym 7). This is further displayed through the literature at that time.

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