Theme Of Marxism In Death Of A Salesman

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The “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller is a play deeply composed of many fundamental Marxist ideologies and beliefs. Marxists mainly believed Capitalism would lead to greed and uncontrollable consumerism which is applicable to the play as it follows the protagonist Willy Loman, a door to door salesman in mid to late 1940’s America, who in the later stages of his life is struggling to live up to his expectations of the ‘American Dream.’ The major theme in the play is the pursuit of this dream and the title represents the falsehood of it. The word ‘death’ in the title of the play initially foreshadows the death of Willy but also symbolises the death of the ‘American Dream.’ This is shown by Lois Tyson in “Critical Theory Today” through saying:…show more content…
This can’t be accepted by his father Willy who bases success on money and popularity. Therefore, Biff can be seen to break the illusion Willy lives by: “I 'm a dime a dozen and so are you!” The use of the idiom ‘dime a dozen’ represents the Marxist idea of a capitalist society, as the proletariat are seen…show more content…
Each of these writers can be seen to be critical of the dream and in “Death of a Salesman” the play fixates on the falsehood of the dream. This is seen through the argument between Biff and Willy as Biff says: “Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?” The use of ‘phony’ links to Willy’s state of false consciousness in believing in a version of the ‘American Dream’ that is no longer applicable to modern day America. Furthermore, the use of ‘before something happens’ foreshadows Willy’s suicide and allows Willy to further demonstrate Marxist criticism, as his belief in the dream leads to his own death; seen through Biff saying in his requiem: “He had the wrong dreams.” This idea is further demonstrated through the car in the play. Willy at the start of the play says: “Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever built” and “that goddamn Chevrolet, they ought to prohibit the manufacture of that car!” The contrast in descriptions seen through ‘greatest’ and ‘goddamn Chevrolet’ shows the progress of the American Dream and also the fragility
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