Death Of A Salesman

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In 1949 a play that was to influence the views of many about the American Dream and its realities was published. Death of a Salesman was written by Arthur Miller and eventually went on to earn him the prestigious Pulitzer prize. This play was predominantly set in the 1920s-30s and gives a deep insight into how the great depression affected working families during this period in time. Miller based this dramatic play solely around the American dream. The American dream was a far fetched belief that if u migrated to America with a little money and an amount of self belief, through hard work you could become prosperous and be able to provide for your family. Arthur Miller himself had been a victim of the American dream, his Austrian father had owned a thriving clothing manufacturing company when in 1929 the stock market crashed and left him with no business. Death of a Salesman is about a salesman who has long passed his "sell by date", and after being a salesman for thirty-four years, is being pushed to one side by his employer. Miller shows how his whole life has been based on lies and stories that he has led his naive family to believe. However this all changed when Willy Loman was caught with another woman by his son Biff. I believe that Miller is trying to convey his views through Willy Loman as a character. Throughout the play, Miller uses various methods or devices to portray Willy Loman as a failing salesman. One of these dramatic scenes is the card game between Willy and Charley. This scene is very cleverly set, for example Willy Loman's house is "surrounded by towering buildings on all of its sides". When Willy has flashbacks to the past, we are allowed to see that his house was once a pleasant place that was surrounded by trees and fields and not skyscrapers. These skyscrapers give us the impression that even Willy's home is being enclosed and downgraded, and also provide a similar comparison to Willy's life itself. This is a fair comparison because Willy views himself as a failure in all aspects of life, even as a father! Near the end of the play when Biff confronts Willy, Biff starts to cry. "He cried! Cried to me." This quotation shows us that Willy is surprised by Biff's emotional actions and is overwhelmed that Biff embraces him as a father.

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