Ross Ebster Scott Yates English 1B 16 November 2013 Waking Up From the Nightmare: From Marx to Miller Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman is a modern day tragedy that roots itself with those who try to obtain the American Dream but are unsuccessful in their pursuit. Miller’s play revolves around the continual chase of this ideology and poses the question of whether attempting to “keep up with the Joneses” can be more of a nightmare than dream. Karl Marx’s ideology introduces the socioeconomic conflict between the capitalists and the working class. Marx referred to these opposing forces as the “haves and have-nots”. Looking at Death Of A Salesman through Karl Marx’s viewpoint can help shed light to Miller’s commentary and possible rejection of American capitalism during the late 1940’s.
Death of a Salesman is based on the foundations, values and moral principles of the American society by applying the American Dream. Miller portray around the play Willy Loman as a tragic hero. He is a common person and has a small family. Miller throughout the play characterizes Willy and his family to show the tragic mishaps and imperfect devotion for that dream. The main features of this tragedy tale that was observed by Aristotle were the emotions that were pitiful and full of fear.
Tragic Heroes in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House Dramatists such as Aristotle started to write a series of plays called tragedies. They were as follows: the play revolved around a great man such as a king or war hero, who possessed a tragic flaw. This flaw or discrepancy would eventually become his downfall. These types of plays are still written today, for example, Arthur Millers "Death of Salesman" and Henrik Ibsens "A Dolls House." "Death of Salesman" shows the downfall of the modern tragic hero, Willy Loman, a middle class working man.
At the same time Willy's love of his delinquent sons, however harmful and wrongly expressed has made him "a King Lear in mufti." The transparent skeletal settings may be altered instantaneously; they modify naturalism into an expressionistic and dreamlike dramatization of Willy's free association, shifting between and confusing the present, the past, and the hallucinatory. These converge on Willy's tortured consciousness during the last two days of his life. The disillusionment, ending in suicide of Willy, a tragic figure who has lost the knack of selling himself and the product he represents. An indictment of commercialism and false values that ends with a plea by Willy's wife t...
The quintessential American ideal of the boundless dreams and "golden success' has trespassed all boundaries of reality and actuality. Througho... ... middle of paper ... ...t like Miller's father, both Biff and the author become part of a select group on the periphery recognizing that the selling of the "American Dream" is a sham. Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman accuses American capitalism of selling a lie, a distorted picture of the American Dream, to everyday Americans like Willy. Miller's message portrays the downfall or the "hamartia" that's ingrained into the American dream, that permeated the lives of many including his own father. This fatal flaw manifests itself through the self-created and self-imposed tyranny of dreams and hopes we have for the future, that lead us to an abyss of disappointment and disapprobation at the end.
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:
A key object with his anger is the silk stockings Willy gave to Miss Francis as a kind of payment for sex, which he guiltily ability to remember every time he sees Linda mending her stockings. “As Boruch has explained, "Willy cannot get rid of the ghost of silk stockings, symbol of his infidelity, and cause of Biff 's distrust" (Ardolino n.p). Which is the woman he had an adulterous relationship between Boston. Portland suggests to Willy 's ridiculous conviction that his dreams will become reality through suicide. “Linda, who pities Willy and understands him as a man who has failings, but not as a neurotic, asks Biff to be "sweet" and "loving" to him "because he 's only a little boat looking for a harbor"” (Ardolino
A Psychological Reading of Death of A Salesman Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman can be seen as an eulogy of a dreamer, which depicts one man's tragic life and death as he tries to bring his family into grace. Miller does, however, also uses this play to express underlying themes and ideas. Reading Death of a Salesman from the starting point of a Marxist results in the perception that miller uses his play as a means to demonstrate the effects of a changing capitalist society. On the other hand, a psychological reading of Death of a Salesman allows the play to be seen as one mans flight from shame and his own weakened self image. The Marxist perspective is a viable reading of this drama but it does not truly define it as a tragedy.
“Death” in the title insinuates Willy's authentic destruction. The play is tormented with conspiring and refusal of reality and self-image, in which don't permit Willy Loman to accomplish independent satisfaction. Willy Loman's life is far from merry and successful. The entire thought of the American Dream is to have a house, auto, and a family. The effect in the economy had a speedy impact on the typical American family.
Through Fitzgerald use of symbolism, expectations, and relationships, he explores the American dream, and how it is an illusion that corrupts and destroys lives. Through Fitzgerald’s symbolic description of Gatsby, he explores the extent of the American Dream’s deceptive nature that slowly destroys a person and his/her morals. During the Roaring 20s it was very common for people to project illusions to mask who they truly were; to fit in, it was almost essential to have one to survive in the highly materialistic and deceitful society. Nick is introduced as the objective narrator... ... middle of paper ... ...an Dream that becomes corrupted and leads to the ultimate failure and destruction of himself. Some say that Americans strive for the impossible goal of perfection; they live, die and do unimaginable deeds to achieve it, and when they do, they may call the product their own American Dream.