Failures in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Failures in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller develops a number of significant and central themes

throughout the play using techniques such as characterization, setting

and language. The best explored theme in the play is the theme of

failure and disappointments. 'Death of a Salesman' is a modern day

play about a salesman, Willy Loman, his life and his failures in a

success driven society and world. He is a victim of "The American

Dream" destroyed by false promises and ideals. As the play unravels we

realize that he more than just a financial failure but also socially,

personally and morally. These failures and faults are not only

confined to him but they rub off on his family.

The storyline shoots from present day to past throughout the play this

does not affect the theme of Failure very much but helps us understand

and realize how these failures came about.

Willy's entire life is a succession of missed opportunities and

chances, and he considers himself a failure because of it. At the

beginning of Act 1 we see him failing to make the drive to his

business appointment, so he's going to miss out on making a sale

because of it. So our first impression of the man is him failing to


As the play proceeds we see Willy comparing himself to his relations

or friends realizing that he is even more of a failure. Willy is a

failure when compared to his father. Ben asserts

"that he could sell more in a week than Willy could in a lifetime".

He is represented as someone who was successful in his own way as Ben

tells us:

'Great inventor, father. With one gadget he made more in a week than a

man like ...

... middle of paper ...

... could not handle it so commits suicide. This is interesting as

his death was a financial failure too as life insurance does not cover

suicide. His funeral was a failure because no one apart from his close

family Charlie and Bernard came. So no matter how sad it sounds but

Willy Loman's life was an entire failure. Until this day Willy Loman

is a symbol of failure because of society's false value system.

This play is based the mid 20th century when success was achieved

through hardwork and industry and wit and charm would not earn you a

living and this is the main reason Willy Loman failed in life.

The play is one of the great tragedies and is a very depressing

experience for the audience. No matter how much Willy deserved to fail

because of his poor value and morality we cannot but feel sorry for

this confused man.
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