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Death of Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

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Death of Salesman by Arthur Miller

The Requiem seems to simply conclude the play at the funeral and let
us see the other character's view of events with some retrospect.
However, with closer scrutiny, we see that old issues and resentments
are still very prevalent.

The Requiem can be split into two halves. The first half sees Charley,
Biff, Linda and Happy over Willy's grave. Each character is unique in
their perspective at this point, reflecting Willy's own change of
perspective towards the end of play and reminding us of several themes
in the text.

Happy still clings to the memory of Willy Loman as the successful
salesman and general good man. Indeed, he holds this view with some
ferocity. He tries to stop Biff being negative about his father (the
stage directions include 'almost ready to fight Biff infuriated') and
his last words are ones of defiance:

'I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in
vein this is where I'm gonna win it for him'

This seems rather absurd to the reader as it is clear now that the
American Dream for the Loman family is just that- a dream. The
spectacular failure of his father and the collapse of the family show
that the dogmatic pursuit of success is fruitless and even dangerous.
'Happy' is a very apt name for the son who tries to be happy and show
a brave face even when things have collapsed around him. Other
examples of this include Happy rallying Biff both when they talk about
setting up business together and when Happy tries to make Biff attract
women at the restaurant in Scene 2. Happy also represents the side of
Willy that he was most used to (Happy, unlike Biff, lived with Willy
day to day and so was more indoctrinated to the lies and...


... middle of paper ...


...wife. Instead of seeing the inevitable, as Charley does, or
being somehow released like Biff, she can only see things in terms of
money and time, like Willy used to obsess over- 'He even finished with
the dentist'.

The second half of the Requiem is dedicated to Linda. It is quite hard
to understand. She says that she 'can't cry' but then seconds later
she is 'sobbing more fully'. Why is this? Maybe telling her true
feelings to Willy instead of suppressing them like when he was alive
releases her, but she keeps repeating 'we're free'. As she whispers
this she seems to be on a higher plane and connecting with Willy.
This, however, is open to interpretation and all we can safely say is
that the Requiem releases the pressure that was mounting in the Loman
household in possibly the only way it could; with the realisation of
the failure of the American Dream.


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