Death Of A Salesman: Illusion In An American Tragedy

1724 Words7 Pages
When the realities of life become too harsh, humankind has a natural tendency to choose the most convenient solution to his problem: illusion. They build dreams and fantasies to conceal the more difficult truths of their lives. In his play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller portrays the hold of such illusions on individuals and its horrible consequences. Through the overly average, overly typical Loman family, Miller shows how dreams of a better life become, as Choudhuri put it, “fantasies to the point that the difference between illusion and reality, the Loman’s dreams and the forces of society, becomes blurred” (Choudhuri 70). The Loman family created dreams and illusions that were far better than their reality. In Death of a Salesman, these dreams overwhelm the two characters Willy, the father, and Biff, his favorite son, but the stark reality of life eventually overcomes these illusions and forces them to face the truth. As Willy and Biff are forced to realize that they have been living in a dream world, this disillusionment becomes a prevalent theme of the play, pointing out how illusions can only hide so much for so long before the truth is unveiled. Wilson explains that The Loman family has such exaggerated, grotesque fictions about each other that the truth is bitterly weak in contrast (Wilson 80). Their illusion are so grand and so full of fantasy that when reality is discovered, they are shocked, devastated. In Death of a Salesman, Willy and Biff Loman display the shocks and hardships that are experienced when one is forced to face reality and be disillusioned. Of these two characters, Willy holds the most illusions, and therefore is the most devastated by the destruction of these fantasies. Miller uses several i... ... middle of paper ... .... Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991. 66-78. Dusenbury, Winifred L. “Loneliness in Death of a Salesman.” The Theme of Loneliness in Modern American Drama. (1960):30-38. Rpt. in Readings on Arthur Miller. …….Ed. Thomas Siebold. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997. 116-24. Foster, Richard. “Confusion and Tragedy: The Failure of Miller’s Salesman.” Two ……Modern American Tragedies: Reviews and Criticism of Death of a Salesman and ……A Streetcar Named Desire. (1961): 123-130. Rpt. in Readings on Arthur Miller. ……Ed. Thomas Siebold. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997. 102-9. Garrison, Craig M. “The System and the American Dream.” Playwrites. 17 April 2002. ……… Hadomi, Leah. “Fantasy and Reality: Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a Salesman.” Modern ……….Drama 31, Vol. 2. (1988):161-2. Rpt. in Blooms Reviews: Arthur Miller’s Death
Open Document