Theme Of Death Of A Salesman

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Death of a Salesman Brainstorming

After finishing your reading of Death of a Salesman, brainstorm your ideas about the key concepts of the drama. Record as many ideas as possible.

1. Title Death of a Salesman (Consider at least two different meanings)
The title Death of a Salesman can have much meaning relating to the change in the late 1940s of the American economy. At the end of World War II, the upper-class Americans had great economic prosperity, however, the middle class didn’t. One meaning of this title could be the Willy Loman is a representation of the death of the American Dream. Willy, as a salesman, spent most of his career attempting to succeed and he overworked himself, a common thing when trying to achieve the American
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Tragic Flaws (Consider at least three or four for each character.)

• Willy ⁃ Inability to discern between reality vs. fantasy ⁃ Misunderstanding of the American Dream ⁃ Denial that his dream won’t happen ⁃ Pride and stubbornness

• Biff ⁃ Letting his father's actions control his life (after seeing the affair and refusing to attend summer school) ⁃ No ambition, laziness ⁃ Illusion of failure for himself to not do better ⁃

• Happy ⁃ Competitiveness and ambition ⁃ Desire to live up to Willys, his father, expectations ⁃ Misguided idea of the American
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Use of Non-realism (How does it advance the plot and create meaning?)
Arthur Miller’s use of non-realism through Willy’s delusions advances the plot of Willy’s downfall because of his distorted view of the American Dream. An example of this is Miller includes Willy’s delusions alongside the use of flashbacks. Flashbacks are of the events in Willy’s past to enable the audience to obtain an understanding of how Willy’s present situation came to be. In the beginning of the play, we see the first flashback where Willy is a hopeful man, he believes he will never have to travel again and he will reach great success. This idea leads to his financial struggles later. Willy has the conviction that he is successful, he doesn’t realize that his not doing that well. In Act I, Willy enters an adulterous relationship with Secretary Francis, who has the power to put him through to buyers. This is a reflection of his belief that he is attempting to mold himself into a what he perceives as a cunning businessman. His world of delusions adds meaning because the shifting behavior between the past and present shows his desire to selectively choose memories to prove he is a wealthy

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