Arthur Miller wrote “Death of a Salesman” in 1949. For this essay I am
planning to explore the structural devices used in the play.
Particularly time lapses. The play is set in Willy’s house and the
various places he visits in New York. “Death of a Salesman” has been
described as a modern tragedy and it certainly follows the rules.
Willy Loman, the protagonist, is the tragic hero with a fatal flaw;
his defect is his supreme pretence and pride. He lives in two
different worlds. In the real world he has fallen from grace, another
rule vital to tragedies, but in the imaginary world in Willy’s head.
The place that clings onto every happy memory just won’t let him
During the 1930’s America was suffering from the great depression.
There was little food and economy was down the drain. When America
finally came out of this recession it had completely changed, large
industrialized buildings had sprung up everywhere; it was all about
big businesses and commercialism. Arthur Miller being born in 1915 had
grown up with poverty and witnessed all of these changes He felt he
had to write about it. I think writers feel compelled to write novels
and plays to get across an issue experienced by them that changes your
perspective on life. Willy had come from a small close-knit business
that had changed and had become too powerful for him. I think people
write books and plays to get across issues that have touched them, and
I imagine that Arthur Miller wanted to write about this, he wanted to
write a play about a little man lost in a big world amongst the webs
of lies and deceit. New York was enveloping Willy Loman.
Arthur Miller cleverly uses time lapses to help structure...
... middle of paper ...
effect. It is perfect for performing on the stage and it is a powerful
theatrical impression. This is somewhat lost when the play was made
into film, you don’t have all the memories right there in front of
you, in the theatre you get to experience the whole of Willy’s mind on
one stage and it’s amazing. Which is why possibly, Arthur Miller had
the previous title of “The Inside of His Head” in mind. Another good
use of theatrical effects is the closing scene, the requiem. This is a
powerful scene as it is a final strong reminder of Willy’s weak
character. And how his constant lies and bad upheaval of deception has
come to his bitter, wretched end. Which is why I think Arthur Miller
chose to write the play this way. To let people leave with this fresh
in their mind. To show how one tragic hero is really a pathetic liar
when more closely inspected.
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