Materialism In Death Of A Salesman Essay
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Materialism in Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller uses Death of a Salesman to expose America & # 8217 ; s preoccupation withmaterialism after World War II - Materialism In Death Of A Salesman Essay introduction. This preoccupation is the chief cause of Willy & # 8217 ; s mentalstress. Willy had a batch siting on him being successful. His household & # 8217 ; s endurance depended on hissuccess. Miller & # 8217 ; s word picture of the Loman household is an illustration which shows that America islargely a 2nd and 3rd coevals state. The first coevals in this drama, Willy & # 8217 ; sfather, was forced in order to do a life, to interrupt up the household. But while Willy & # 8217 ; sfather achieved and was originative, he left behind him a married woman, a immature boy who is nowfatherless, and an older boy who was driven to happen success and allowing nil get in hisway. Willy, the 2nd coevals, is his male parent & # 8217 ; s victim. While he wants to love and & # 8220 ; doright & # 8221 ; by his boies, he is driven to utilize them as inheritors to the land that he believes mustbe built. Therefore, he must go through on to them non merely love but the doomed dream that he has.Biff and Happy represent the 3rd coevals in this drama. Happy values merely materialthings. He looks for some sort of solace in his relationship with adult females and thoughvaguely witting of some inadequacy, measures himself entirely by mention to hissuccess in concern. Biff, on the other manus, is cognizant of other values than the purelymaterial and is capable eventually of the sort of echt humanity which Willy onlyapproaches in minutes of rare sensitiveness. Some have interpreted Death of a Salesman as an onslaught upon the & # 8220 ; AmericanDream & # 8221 ; which harmonizing to R.H. Gardner means the thought that ours is a land of unlimitedopportunity in which merely a tatterdemalion can achieve wealths and any female parent & # 8217 ; s son becomepresident. Others have chosen to see it as a modern-day & # 8220 ; King Lear & # 8221 ; which is thetragedy of the common old adult male of today, as opposed to that of the extraordinary old manof Shakespeare & # 8217 ; s clip. ( Gardner 123 ) One set of values that exists in Willy & # 8217 ; s character, and defeated by the circumstancesin which he finds himself, are his urges toward two of the original American virtuousnesss: Autonomy and Individualism of spirit. These virtuousnesss are possibly the pure formsunderlying the corrupt and destructive social jussive moods of success and gettingahead. ( Foster 84 ) Willy has the autonomous accomplishments of the craftsman. He is & # 8220 ; good at things, & # 8221 ; from smoothing a auto to constructing a forepart porch. But autonomy has collapsed, the toolsrust, and Willy has become a victim of a machine civilization. The drama implies that Willymight have been happier in a pre-capitalistic society. In simple footings, it suggests that Willywould have been happier working with his custodies. ( Brustein 46 ) Willy was meant to stand for a Lear of the modern center categories. His hero is notso much a & # 8220 ; low adult male & # 8221 ; as the lowest adult male one could gestate. ( Gardner 124 ) He is merely plaindumb and a large dullard. Willy ne’er alterations throughout the drama. At the terminal he is still thesame old Willy, babbling maniacally about how brilliant Biff is traveling to be with the $ 20,000 insurance money. Happy, the younger boy, less favored by both nature and his male parent, possibly asWilly was in comparing with Ben, has escaped the intimacy with his male parent that destroysBiff in societal footings. Therefore idolizing his male parent from afar, Hap has ne’er to the full come torealize the bogus parts of his male parent and his male parent & # 8217 ; s dreams. Happy is non a societal Rebel andhe will transport on with the life of a salesman, and one suspects, travel on to the decease of asalesman. ( Gordon 279 ) He will go against the foreman & # 8217 ; married woman out of some alone despair, asWIlly sought support from his Boston adult female. He will besides seek to turn out his manfulness withthe fast autos and fancy talk, but once more like willy, he will ne’er truly believe in his ownmanliness in a mature manner. ( Gordon 280 ) Merely as Willy is called a child throughout, andreferred to as the bantam Willy by everyone except Ben, Happy has been trapped bythe childish American Playboy Magazine vision of the male. ( Gordon 279 ) In Death of a Salesman, Willy is portrayed as a societal victim. He is given his elegyin the last scene by his friend Charley, who, ironically, by a sort of indifference and deficiency ofdream, hour angle succeeded within the Amercan system. Charley points out that a salesman mustdream of great things if he is to go the district & # 8220 ; manner out at that place in the blue, & # 8221 ; but that heis besides a adult male who truly has no trade like the carpenter, attorney, or physician, and when thebrilliant smiling that has brought his success begins to blanch, he must fall, though & # 8220 ; there is norock bottom. & # 8221 ; Because this portrait rings true, the drama seems to indict a system thatpromises and so demands entire committedness to success without respect to humanvalues, a system that, as Willy says to Howard, will & # 8220 ; eat the orange and throw the peelaway. & # 8221 ; ( Gordon 276 ) It is a system symbolized in the drama by the auto, that strange, uniquelyAmerican compulsion, which Willy and his boies polish, love and cherish as a manifestationof their manful glorification. ( Gordon 277 ) But the auto is something that wears out and interruptions
down, and shortly plenty, unless one can afford an even-shinier O
ne, he is driving an oldStudebaker, smashed up many times, with a broken carburetor. He is driving the symbol ofan outlived usefulness. Willy Loman’s catastrophe is one of the poignant and inevitable misfortunes of oursociety an our time. The various formulations of the idea of success have contributed tothe state of mind that makes failure a crime. Success is a requirement that Americans makeof life. Because it seems magical and inexplicable, as it us to Willy, it can be consideredthe due of every free citizen, even those with no notable or measurable talents. One citizenis as good as any other, and he cannot be proved to be a natural-born failure any morethan he can be stripped of his civil rights. The disappointment Willy feels because he hasnot made it is one of great American exasperations. He postpones his anguish bytransferring his ambitions to his sons, and so the play’s free use of time permits us toobserve aspiration and failure in both generations.(Popkin 53) Willy’s language reflects his resoluteness in the pursuit of success. It is devoid ofwords for anything but the necessities of life and the ingredients or symbols of success.This world is full of aspirin, arch supports, saccharin, Studebakers, Chevrolets, shavinglotion, refrigerators, silk stockings and washing machines. (Popkin 54) Everything butthese commonplace objects is washed out of the characters speech. The road and Willy’s car have metaphysical meaning. Willy’s soul can no longertravel the road; it has broken down because the road has lost meaning.(Gordon 279) Thatmultiplicity within himself, his creative yearnings, and that part of himself which seescreativity as a moral value, now intrudes on consciousness. The woods burn, and he isthrown into a hell of disorder and conflicting value within himself. The two bags which arehis salesgoods, his emblems of material success, the two bags which his sons would carryinto the capitals of New England and so carry on the tradition of his dream, are now tooheavy. His sons will never bear them for him, and the values which they represent are nowoverwhelming burden of his existence.(Gordon 280) The refrigerator and the house, though paid for, will never house the totality of hisyearnings. They will never be the monuments to his existence that he has sought to makethem. His sons, who would also have been the immortality of his dreams, his mark on theworld have failed him. As the play progresses and Willy’s sons finally leave him kneeling ina bathroom to take their chippies in consonance with the manliness they have learned fromhim, they leave him alone to face the void within his soul.(Gordon 280) The social frame of limitation of Willy’s world doesn’t restrict the drama to acommonplace or materialistic plot, because in his bumbling, inarticulate way, Willy Lomanpersonifies his creator’s concept that even the common-place hero has “the human passionto surpass his given bounds, the fanatic insistence upon self-conceived goal.” ThoughOedipus’ search for the truth is a conscious exercise of a powerful regal mind dealing witha problem of broad dimension and import, and Willy’s quest for the truth is restrained by acommonness of mind and a restricted sphere of life, yet ” Willy persues the truth andstruggles against it within his personal and social limits no less arduously andcatastrophically than Oedipus.”(Vogel 88) In the generations between these two heroes,the family bloodline may have thinned a bit, but the lineaments of the tyrannous havenedbeen elided. It isn’t what society demands that makes the action, it is what Willy thinks itdemands, and that is the unpreventable element that is the all-powerful motivation of histragedy, as it was for Oedipus in his s situation. It would seem, then, that Miller’s vision oftragedy is as broad as his predecessors. It isn’t society that is the primary flaw but man’sinnate, eternal, inevitable tendency to self-delusion, ironically induced by uncontrollableexternal powers.(Vogel 93) The villain in Death of a Salesman is, of course, the American cult of success,dramatically exacerbated when the protagonist is a salesman, one who sells selling morethan material goods. The poignancy is enhanced by his being a jew who has to overcomeadditional rootlessness and insecurity.(Simon 76) Willy pursues the two-headed chimuraof financial and social success-being rich and well liked- and how this delusory and evermore elusive aim lures him and his family to physical or moral disaster that is considered aperfect fit subject for tragedy. But, unfortunately, Miller himself is to a considerable extentthe victim of the obsessions he sets out to expose, and can’t acquiesce in the notion that adesperate situation doesn’t occur. Throughout Death of a Salesman, Arthur miller uses many examples to exposeAmerica’s obsession with materialistic items since World War II. He does this byportraying Willy as an egotistical, greedy man. Willy’s only will is in his name. Willy theinsensate slob who is to be pitied as a confused wretch, not as a proxy for a man.(Duprey139) Miller depicts him as the victim of a society that is money hungry.