Struggles and Tensions in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

Struggles and Tensions in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

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In drama, struggles and tensions within the lives of characters and the situations they face are important for the building of the plot and maintaining the attention of the audience. In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson, the main characters of the plays face struggles which move the plot along, while adding anticipation and excitement. Willy and Troy face struggles internally and externally with society. Willy struggles with failing business, while Troy struggles with feelings of being segregated form society. Both men also face conflicts with their marriages and with their relationships with their sons. These struggles are evident throughout the entire play and are enhanced by many examples. Conflicts and tensions within these plays create an effective and stimulating story line.
The characters Willy, from Death of a Salesman and Troy, from Fences, both face struggles with society. Willy is an aging salesman who no longer is able to keep up with the amount of work that is required for him to succeed. Willy says, "I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me" (Miller 1702). Willy is starting to understand that he no longer is mentally and physically able to do his job and people are also starting to realize his weaknesses. Willy tells his wife, Linda, that other men at work laugh at him behind his back. The audience sees Willy's struggle with his career in the following:

But I gotta be at it ten, twelve hours a day. Other men- I don't know- they do it easier. I don't know why- I can't stop myself- I talk too much. A man oughta come in with few words. One thing about Charley. He's a man of few words, and they respect him. (Miller 1703)
As seen in this dialogue, Willy bel...


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...oston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 1689-1757.
- - - "On Death of a Salesman as an American Tragedy." Literature and Its Writers. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 2032-2035.
- - - "Paris Review." Literature and Its Writers. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 2035-2037.
Nilsen, Helge. "Marxism and the Early Plays of Aurthur Miller." Literature and Its Writers. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 2037-2041.
Rich, Frank. "Review of Fences." Literature and Its Writers. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 1990-1992.
Wilson, August. "Fences." Literature and Its Writers. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 1834-1882.


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