Have you ever worked long and hard on a project, only to realize that it was effort wasted and the project was totally meaningless in the end? That is just what occurred in the play The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Willy Loman, the protagonist, spent decades in mind numbing work, only to discover that he had “built his life on shifting sand” (Nicholas). Through the course of his journey, Willy kept on the straight and narrow highway, which he thought would bring success and happiness. He often contemplated when he would draw his last breath and if he should. Willy begins to realize the futility of his journey when his son Biff Loman returned from college after he had flunked out. Willy had a prevailing hope that his son would amount to something, that he would be successful and become someone great. The cold and brutal reality was that both Biff and Willy were still living in the past. It takes until the final scenes in the play, for Biff to finally comprehend what his dad wanted for him; which was for him to go get a job in business instead of chasing his senseless dreams of being a rancher in Texas. It is in those final moments that Biff steps up and confronts his dad that Willy leaves forever. Ultimately, this play shows us that even when we aren’t achieving the American Dream that somewhere deep down we can be “lovable even when we are awful.”
Play writer Bert Cadullo’s article, Death of a Salesman and Death of a Salesman: The swollen legacy of Arthur Miller states that “Miller failed to craft a play befitting Salesman’s exalted reputation.” This makes me wonder how Cadullo imagined a salesman should be portrayed? Miller’s play allows the audience to see the everyday life, t...
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... home he is overcome with guilt. His wife is sitting and knitting stockings and Willy bellows, “Stop darning those stockings.” Willy throws them in the trash and heads out to the backyard. Later that same night he endures another haunting premonition where he wants to plant a garden as he is talking to his imaginary brother Ben. It would have looked irrational from our perspective.
The story ends how it began with a car accident. Willy Loman a family man; that through all of his struggles is finally released. In the last moment of the play we attend his funeral. Only his family and neighbors are there. In the last moments of the play at the funeral his wife explains how they finally were able to pay off the debt of house and, “A fine troubled prince” was lost. “What is precious is the connections between people. If this is fractured, then catastrophe begins.” -Miller
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