Realism in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Realism in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Realism may be defined as an attempt to reproduce the surface appearance of the life of normal people in everyday situations (Kennedy 1410). Basically realism is a situation that normal people can relate to based on their own experiences. Realism is extremely prevalent in the play Death of a Salesman. The characters in the play have real world problems. Lack of money is one of the problems, which is a problem for many people. There are also many conflicts within the family; related to each characters definition of success.

Willy Loman also wants his children to have a better than he has and tries to do everything he can so they will have a better life, including ending his own. One realistic situation that many people can relate to is money problems. Money is one of the main problems that Willy Loman had throughout the play. The Loman family had many purchases on payments. Linda even states “for the vacuum cleaner there’s three and a half due on the fifteenth” (Miller 1650). The Loman family was living from week to week. Every time Willy came home from a fairly successful day selling, he would think he was finally getting ahead. Willy would tell Linda how much he had made, but she would then point out how much they owed on everything. Willy then felt overwhelmed and said “My God, if business don’t pick up I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” (1650). Linda would then reassure Willy and tell him “Well, next week you’ll do better” (1650). Many people in real life have this same problem. Every time they feel they are getting ahead financially, a problem occurs and they find themselves right back where they started.

Most people also have to deal with problems and conflicts within their family throughout their life. Family problems were not exempt from the characters in Death of a Salesman. Biff’s idea of success was completely opposite from Willy’s. Willy viewed success as achieving money and power; Biff however viewed success in life as being happy. Biff realized that “I’m just what I am, that’s all” (1703). Biff realized he was “a dime a dozen” (1703), but his father could not accept this reality. This situation where parents always keep telling their children what they should do with their lives is common in many families.
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