Modernity Plays a Major Role in the Play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Analysis

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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a play that highlights the impact of modernity on the American Dream, specifically through the character of Willy Loman. As a salesman, Willy’s job becomes obsolete due to new technologies and advancements in the business world. Willy’s constant search for money and success reveals the pressure society places on material possessions. Willy’s son, Biff, also struggles to find success in the new world of modernity, leading to tragic events. Ultimately, modernity plays a significant role in Willy’s mental decline and eventual suicide.

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Death of a salesman was published in 1949, and in the beginning of the 1950s, a decade of consumerism and new technological advances in America. Many inventions were specifically to the home, for example the TV and the washing machine became common household objects. The main character in the play is William Loman, an American salesman that is a deeply useless character, modernity accounts for the obsolescence of Willy Loman’s career; traveling salesmen are rapidly becoming out-of-date, since in modern America new kinds of jobs and new technologies sell objects without using any salesmen. Significantly, Willy reaches for modern objects, the car and the gas heater, to assist him in his suicide attempts. Modernity plays a major role in the play “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller.

William Loman the father of biff and happy Loman and the husband of Linda, is a man living on the edge of modern America, in the late 1940s. Willy is constantly trying to obtain the best things for his family, as technology and science are advancing, the business world advanced too. And it reached to a point were salesmen are no longer subjected to travel around and sell stuff, it is that from their offices using telephones and other means they are able to perform the same job of the former salesman job, that willy had. As more and more new appliances and cars are being manufactured. Willy starts to lose his mind in this materialistic world, since he is not able to perform his prior job and earn money to cover the needs of his family, so it becomes clear that the only thing he is really concerned about is keeping up with the people around him in terms of success and possessions.

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Throughout the play, Willy constantly mentions the fact that he is running out of money and can no longer pay for new appliances, and he mournfully regrets not going to Africa with Ben, who is rich. This notion presents the role of modernity on the American dream, willy is always in search for a way to get money, but he wasn’t able to, because the old ways are not valuable among people and no longer supply money, Ben Willy’s brother went to Africa several decades before the modernity came to being, he was always in search for diamonds and gold and was able to achieve his goal. But in the present America, the 1950s America that is not a way to become rich. Biff Willy’s son went from a Job to a Job, from working in farms in the west to many other jobs but he wasn’t able to earn money, and that is because of modernity and what modernity implies on people.

In many cases then, modernity sets the stage for the tragic events to follow in Loman’s life. So the race for material goods and the cost has a harsh negative effect on our mental health. And modernity itself played the main role in increasing the pressure on Willy Loman and makes him lose his mind and commit suicide in the end of the play.

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Modernity Plays a Major Role in the Play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Analysis. (2017, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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