Theme Of Expressionism In Death Of A Salesman

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Death of a Salesman, the “first great American Tragedy,” is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. Miller is known for being a true activist, supporting and participating in many liberal issues, including the civil rights struggle and the protest against the Vietnam War. The basis for Death of a Salesman lies in Arthur Miller’s relationship with his uncle Manny Newman, a salesman. Miller expresses Manny’s emotions through Willy Loman, the main protagonist. In successfully doing so, Miller has been deemed an American who understands the true nature and values of the United States (Bloom). The play primarily addresses the painful conflicts within one’s own family as well as larger issues regarding American
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The language, or diction, is closest to natural conversation. However, Miller also incorporates Expressionism throughout the play, as he presents the inner psychological reality of his character, a subjective vision of the world. Miller was interested in Expressionism but didn’t want to abandon the conventions of realism. So instead, he used a dramatic form that combined the subjectivity of expressionism with the illusion of objectivity afforded by realism (Wilson). This ultimately provides a far more accurate weighing of American values: “The blurred line between realism and expressionism is not the weakness some critics have claimed, but on the contrary, one of the play’s most subtle successes” (Parker). Death of a Salesman is also, in many ways, a tragedy. In fact, Arthur Miller created a tragedy of the common man. Willy Loman is an ordinary, misguided man setting out to accomplish something that he believes to be the right thing, similar to many of us. Miller demonstrates that the problems your “everyday” person faces are of equal worth, significance, and importance; we cannot diminish these “ordinary” problems. Ultimately, by using a realistic and expressionistic approach to this tragedy, Miller tackles social questions of the effect the capitalistic American Dream myth has on an ordinary American like Loman (Porter). Willy Loman has to fight to attain his dreams of success, a fight that is easily relatable to his audience. And, in doing so, Miller also raises questions regarding universal human controversies about the nature of happiness and
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