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Main Characters in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

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Although there are many things we do not know about the characters in Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman”, in the beginning we are left worried about the attitude of one of the main characters—has he had a relationship crisis? What causes him to act the way he does? There is one thing we are sure of from the start: He is an exhausted, hot-tempered, old man. In the play “Death of a Salesman” the setting fluctuates between either the late 1940s or the daydreams of Willy’s past. During this time, men’s roles were very high, due to the fact that they were the breadwinners. With the progression of the play we see some of the many complications Willy faces within his life. Willy’s daydreaming flashbacks give us a sneak peek into the life he used to live, and also important details from the past needed to understand the meaning behind other parts of the play. Willy was once “on top” with sales and wanted the best for his son Biff. Miller’s style helps the reader see into the life of the old man enough to have a clear understanding as to why he does the things he does and act the way he does. Later we find out that not only his current predicament is affecting him, but also his oldest son, Biff’s, predicament. Throughout the story there is a series of events that takes us into the lives of these characters and also their past. A major concern within the story is with the theme failure to success. In Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” the use of characterization and symbols are central to the structure of the theme.
Willy Loman is the stable center point of the story. Willy spends most of his time on stage in dialogues with multiple characters. During this century households were still focused on “stay -at -home wives” while the men w...


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...close there were to success” (Thomas Edison) Willy looked for pleasure from other people’s approval. Instead of wrongly chasing the American dream and failing, he should not have been trying to be a big time salesman; he should have aimed for being something more like an architect. Willy was good with tactile tasks like putting up the ceiling he did. Willy had invisible pride. He felt he had things that weren’t there. He also went wrong with having more pride in his son Biff than Biff had in himself, so when his son failed he was more torn by his failure than he was. In some cases, praise can actually undermine your child’s motivation. And thinking highly of oneself can blind a person from seeing their true potential. "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. [1 Samuel 2:3]



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