The Failed American Dream: Analysis of Death of a Salesman A tragedy play is a source of drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to extreme suffer or sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with lack of approval or support. Arthur Miller’s tragedy play, Death of a Salesman can be viewed as a urology of a man who was a constant dreamer, which represents his life and tragic death as he tries to fulfill his visions of having the American Dream.
American tragedy explores the great myths that govern a society by examining the lives of its most ordinary citizens. Miller vividly expresses Ideas throughout his play by demonstrating a changing society. Also, reading Death Of a Salesman allows the play to be psychologically viewed as one man’s journey from shame and his own lack of self-confidence. Arthur Miller portrays Wily, his family, and other characters situation by the use of symbolism and themes, he accurately puts into words what every human being thinks, feels, and worries about, but often has trouble expressing.
The lead character is Wily Loan, a failing door-to-door salesman coming o the end of his life but doggedly holding on to lost dreams. In the beginning of the play, we see Wily returning home to his wife Linda after almost crashing his car. Linda begins to worry about her husband and fears what may happen in the future. We soon learn why Wily is unTABLE to continue his career as a salesman, which he has followed for many years. He starts to explain to his wife why he has returned so early and empty handed: I was driving along, you understand? And I was fine. Was even observing the scenery.
You can imagine, me looking at scenery, on the road every week of my life. But it’s so beautiful up there, Linda, the trees are so thick, and the sun is warm. Opened the windshield and just let the warm air bathe over me. And then all of a sudden I’m going’ off the road! I’m tellingly, I absolutely forgot was driving. If Dive gone the other way over the white line I mightn’t killed somebody. So I went on again ? and five minutes later Pm dreaming’ again, and I nearly… I have such thoughts; I have such strange thoughts (Death. I . 22). Wily is soon to be drawn to death.
He is tempted by suicide not because he fails to understand his situation but because he does. It is for this reason that he tracks back through his life in memory, restlessly searching for the moment when he betrayed life, or it betrayed him (Critical). Later throughout the play we learn that he is “playing’ with the idea of suicide, he has attached a little hose to a gas line in the basement. Although he tells his wife Linda, that by “crossing the white line” he might have killed somebody, rather than himself accidentally injuring someone else, it is him that he eventually kills.
Could it be that his “strange thoughts” are his suicidal fantasies because his reality of life does not match his American dream? Wily s last name is ironically Loan. Wily Loan, has long been viewed as the American little man, the “low man”, the traveling salesman who, at more than sixty years of age, fears that his life is unsuccessful. Loan wants success but the meaning of that need extends beyond the accumulation of wealth, security, goods, and well known status (Family). His two adult sons, Biff and Happy, are on a rare visit back home.
The relationship between Biff and his father is forced. Wily thinks his son Biff is a lazy bum (Death. 1. 50) considering that he has not found himself a steady career at the age of thirty-four. Left alone, Wily starts to daydream in the kitchen about when his boys were teenagers. Within these reminisces are also hints of where things started to go wrong for Wily. He receives a visit by his friend Charley, who offers him a job, which Wily proudly rejects, “Don’t insult me… L got a good job” (1. 414-416).
Throughout the play, Wily frequently drifts in and out of the present, by interacting with characters from his past. We come in contact with The Woman whom Wily has been seeing. She is a secretary that puts Wily through to the buyers. He has been meeting her on he road to cheer him up. He tells his wife Linda how he feels: ‘Cause get so lonely ? especially when business is bad and there’s nobody to talk to I get the feeling that I’ll never Sell anything again, that I won’t make a living for you, or a business, a business for the boys… L . 335) The second act open happily with Wily taking his wife’s advice into asking his boss, Howard, for a different job position and then meet his sons for dinner. However, Willis boss denies his wish and instead, tells Wily he is fired. This triggers Willis memories of turning down his late brother Ben’s offering of a job “… If I’d gone with him to Alaska that time, everything would’ve been totally different’ (1. 447). Wily has come to his lowest, by borrowing money from his neighbor Charley and passing it Off as his own salary.
Returning home, Wily is found talking to Ben, about his plan to commit suicide so his family can have the insurance money. Wily talks proudly of his brother and wants to be well liked and respected like him… ‘The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich! ” (l -384). Society responds to Wily with an indifference that can only seem cruel in comparison to the hopes he carries with him even to the point of death (Family). Will’s only hope lies in his sons.
Unfortunately, the only source of money Wily has to give them is his life insurance funds. He feels this will guarantee their success. Towards the end of the play, Will’s thoughts surfaces to reality, he dies and his funeral was only attended by the immediate family, Linda began to wonder where all of his business men were. Biff recalls that his father had all the wrong dreams, he seemed happier irking on the house than he did as a salesman. The playwright combines real-life qualities of his uncle, a regular American man with mythic principles drawn from Ancient Greek theatre.
Miller used a small-scale personal story as the basis of a drama that tapped right into the consciousness of a whole nation (Insight). The tone of Miller’s stage directions and dialogue ranges from sincere to parodying. Will’s flute theme foreshadows the revelation of his father’s occupation and abandonment; Will’s automobile accident before the start of Act I foreshadows his us iced at the end of Act II.
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