“A salesman has got to dream” (Miller ). That sums up Willy Loman’s life in just one sentence. Willy is a sixty-three year old salesman with two son, Biff and Happy, and loving, supportive wife, Linda. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Willy tries to provide for his family while struggling with financial, emotional, psychological, and suicidal issues. Willy commits suicide at the end of the play, with the help of his dead brother Ben, in believing that the action is the only way he could provide for his family one last time. Willy was not the only one to suffer disillusionment over his life; his sons follow in step (Loos 2). Biff is lost through most of the play, but he finds himself. He achieves a sense of personal dignity and comes to understanding his rightful place in society” (Nienhuis 95). In this classic American play, Miller uses the themes of chasing the wrong dream and identity crises to influence the overall theme of tragedy.
The death of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman deems the play a tragedy. But Biff’s comment in the end that Willy never knew himself, critics took that statement to not seeing much of tragic insight in its hero, which takes from the play’s tragic claim. Supporting this furthermore, Nienhuis states that all deaths are not truly tragic (3-4). But Biff’s comment and Nienhuis’ statement is not quite accurate. “Willy did struggle against self-knowledge—trying not to know ‘what’ he was; but he had always a superb consciousness of his own individual strength as a ‘who’ (Nienhuis 4). With Willy being lost and getting fired from a job he put his whole life into, he’s death really did live up to its tragic claim.
Written in the beginnin...
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...f wrong dream and the theme of identity crisis, the overall key theme of tragedy is enhanced. Because of Willy Loman chasing a dream before he found himself, he and his family drown in unhappiness which soon led to his tragic suicide.
Eisinger, Chester E. "CRITICAL READINGS: Focus On Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman: The Wrong Dreams." Critical Insights: Death Of A Salesman (2010): 93-105. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Loos, Pamela. "Best Intentions Far Awry: The Family Dynamic In All My Sons And Death Of A Salesman." Critical Insights: Arthur Miller. 19-32. n.p.: Salem Press, 2010. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Nienhuis, Terry. "Death Of A Salesman." Masterplots, Fourth Edition (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Miller, Arthur et al. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penquin Group. 1998. Print.
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