Essay on Death of Trust

Essay on Death of Trust

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In the classic American drama “Death of a Salesman,” Arthur Miller spins a profound and complex narrative around a deluded and shallow shell of a man. In a story overflowing with intimations about the nature and morality of man and the ramifications of mistruths and fantasy, there is one message easily held as predominant: that of Willy Loman’s futile pursuit of the American dream and the reality of its death within him—and the unfortunate sector of humanity that he embodies. This interpretation is so dominant and alluring, in fact, that it neatly obscures a more subtle message seeded patiently by Miller throughout the narrative. While the death of the American dream might be lamentable, it is the death of trust in “Death of a Salesman” that is in fact the greatest tragedy.
Willy Loman is a man that is good with his hands, a trait that Miller is sure to emphasize at every turn. It is a predilection inherited from his father, a salesman of a rather different sort than Willy. Willy’s father was a frontiersman and an inventor at heart, and would have been by all accounts had a great man—had he not rejected Willy with his abandonment, and caused Willy to distance himself from his father and all that he represents (Fix 465. The wooden flutes his father skillfully carved represent the apex of the talent Willy could have brought to bear had his father not broken his faith and sullied the art of craftsmanship in Willy’s mind forever. Thus emotionally taxing segments of the play are punctuated by the noise of a flute, constantly taking both Willy and the reader back to the broken link of trust that started it all.
With his father’s path forcibly closed to him, Willy instead adopts as a surrogate the life of venerable salesman Dave Sing...


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... Salesman, Life of a Jew: Ethnicity, Business, and the Character of
Willy Loman.” Southwest Review 92.4 (2007): 583-97. ProQuest Research Library. ProQuest. Drexel U Lib., Philadelphia, PA. 4 June 2009 .
Fix, Charlene. “The Lost Father in Death of a Salesman.” Michigan Quarterly Review 47.3 (2008): 464-76. ProQuest Research Library. ProQuest. Drexel U Lib., Philadelphia, PA. 4 June 2009 .
Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar Roberts. 4th
compact ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2008.
Phelps, H C. “Miller’s Death of a Salesman.” The Explicator 53.4 (1995): 239-40. Expanded
Academic ASAP. Gale. Drexel U Lib., Philadelphia, PA. 4 June 2009
.

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