Menagerie and Salesman

993 Words4 Pages
“The characters of Menagerie and Salesman are caught in a temporal and spatial void” (Bigsby Critical Introduction 2, 45). Both playwrights depict the characters’ inability to relate to the reality of their present environment. They try to escape into illusionary realities in order to free themselves from their harsh and frustrated existence. The dreamy world is simply the shelter that provides temporary security to almost every character of the plays. However, the hopes that hang up there eventually clap. Tom’s refusal to deal with reality makes him to abandon his mother and sister. He escapes from the reality by going to the movies, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes, but none of these can fully satisfy his need of freedom. Even the final departure from his family can’t provide the freedom that Tom imagined. He finally realizes that no matter how much physical distance he maintains, his memories will always with him. Tom’s love for his sister and mother is greater than the feeling of freedom that he thought he needed. Similarly, Amanda, as a result of the frustrated circumstances, escapes into the past that comforts her from the harsh realities of her present situation. By recalling her youth, Amanda escapes into perfect happiness and blissful innocence where she feels safe and comfortable. However, none of her escapism can prevent the inevitable: Laura’s incapability, both physically and emotionally, of caring for herself and Tom’s egger of leaving the family. In the case of The Willy Loman family, pursuing the American dream leads Willy fails to realize that he has placed the highest value on what is no more than an illusion. He tries to obtain the superficial vision of the American dream. Trying to archive the unattaina... ... middle of paper ... ...future. As a result, she moves to the next plan --marriage. She does everything in her power to find a gentleman caller for her delicate daughter. Amanda shows her willingness to sacrifice for her family and subjects herself to the humiliating drudgery of selling magazine subscriptions in order to increasing Laura’s marriage possibilities. Willy, on the other hand, is unable to accept genuine love and affection from his wife, yet finds gratification from the affair shows his betrayal and disregard for his family. However, Willy does love his wife and sons. He chooses to commit suicide, believing it will give Biff a better chance to succeed in life. In Willy’s mind, he is making the ultimate sacrifice for his family when he kills himself. Therefore, Willy, in his own mind, dies as a father and husband, not as a salesman as Miller indicates in the title of the play.
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