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The Importance of the Requiem in Death of a Salesman Essay

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The Importance of the Requiem in Death of a Salesman


      In the play, Death of a Salesman, the final chapter is titled "Requiem" instead of "Epilogue".   The definition of Requiem in' The concise Oxford dictionary' is a special Mass for repose of souls of the dead'. The Requiem serves as a tribute to Willy Loman. Sympathy is evoked and reasons for his behavior are given. Charley gives the central speech-' Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman has got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.' Any blame or anger at Willy is counteracted. It echoes Linda earlier in the play' But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.' It is made absolutely certain that Willy is sympathized with rather than cursed. Though Biff criticizes Willy and argues with him, he still respects him and is compassionate-'A fine, troubled prince. A hard-working, unappreciated prince'.

            The dramatic car crash at the end of the previous scene would be a violent ending, and would leave us with many questions. Before he kills himself it looks like things are on their way to getting better, as if Willy realizes the importance of himself in the family. We can see that Willy is killing himself to help Biff-' Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?'. Its ironic that Willy commits suicide to further Biff's career when it serves to finish it, but it convinces Happy, the son who was always second best, to carry on like his father. We know that Biff has no need for the money, as the things he appreciates in life are free. He thinks that his family will be thankful-' Ben, he'll worship me for it!' when we know they won't. Without the Requiem we wouldn't know how th...


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...ma. 36 (1993): 443-453.

Eisinger, Chester E. "Focus on Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman': The Wrong Dreams," in American Dreams, American Nightmares,

(1970 rpt In clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1976 vol. 6:331

Florio, Thomas A., ed. “Miller’s Tales.” The New Yorker.  70 (1994): 35-36.

Foster, Richard J. (Confusion and Tragedy: The Failure of Miller's 'Salesman' (1959) rpt in clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1983 vol. 26:316

Gardner, R. H. ("Tragedy of the Lowest Man," in his Splintered Stage: (1965) rpt in clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1983 vol. 2l6:320

Hayashi, Tetsumaro.  Arthur Miller Criticism.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1969.

Martin, Robert A., ed. Arthur Miller.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982.

Miller, Arthur.  Death of a Salesman.  New York: Viking, 1965.

---.  Eight Plays.  New York:  Nelson Doubleday, 1981.


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