In modern society, most Americans own an automobile. In the wealthier households, a family of four may own as many as three to four automobiles, one for each driver living in the house. However, the automobile has not always been a staple of living in America. In the 1940s, a family with an automobile was considered well-to-do, as well as wealthy and hard-working. It is during this time period that Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, is set. Miller gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Willy Loman, and in doing so provides an intriguing insight into the common American family of the time. Willy Loman is the everyman, constantly pursuing the “American Dream.” Part of the “American Dream” constitutes owning an automobile, which the Lomans do. However, the importance of the automobile in this play reaches far beyond ownership. In the first scene it is addressed when Willy’s wife Linda asks him worriedly if he has smashed the car. In the closing scene, Willy commits suicide by smashing his car into a tree. In Death of a Salesman, the automobile plays a major role, functioning both as a symbol and a tangible manifestation of the “American Dream.”
In the opening lines of Death of a Salesman, Linda Loman worries that something has “happened” to her husband Willy. After Willy assures her that “nothing happened,” Linda asks, “You didn’t smash the car did you?”. This initial exchange sets up the significant role the automobile will have in the events of the play. In Linda’s mind, she instinctively makes the leap from a problem with Willy to a problem with the automobile. Although she is anxious about the state of the family car, Linda is not a materialistic or s...
... middle of paper ...
...n depicts another outmoded character in a society on the brink of great social change.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Lhannon, Jr., W. T. Deliberate Speed: The Origins of a Cultural Style in the American 1950s. Washington: Smithsonian Inst. P., 1990.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Viking P, 1966.
Oakley, J. Ronald. God’s Country: America in the Fifties. New York: Dembner Books, 1990. 245.
Murphy, Brenda and Susan C. W. Abbotson. Understanding Death of a Salesman: A Student Handbook to Cases, Issues and Historical Documents. The Greenwood Press “Literature in Context” series, Claudia Durst Johnson, series editor. Westwood, CT, London: 1999.
Guth, Hans P. and Gabriel L. Rico. 1993. Discovering Literature. “Tragedy and the Common Man” by Arthur Miller. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Impact of Ben Loman’s Character on Theme and Character Development in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Some characters in literature who only appear briefly in the work can have a tremendous impact on the literature. These characters have a significant presence in the literary work. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Ben Loman is that character. Ben is the brother of the main character Willy. Though Ben has a brief part in this play, he affects the theme and development of other characters.... [tags: Death Salesman]
483 words (1.4 pages)
- Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Short Essay One Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman focuses on the American Dream, or at least Willie Loman’s version of it. *Willie is a salesman who is down on his luck. He "bought into" the belief in the American Dream, and much of the hardship in his life was a result. *Many people believe in the American Dream and its role in shaping people’s success. Willy could have been successful, but something went wrong. He raised his sons to believe in the American Dream, and neither of them turned out to be successful either.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
671 words (1.9 pages)
- Destruction of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman A white picket fence surrounds the tangible icons of the American Dreams in the middle 1900's: a mortgage, an automobile, a kitchen appliance paid for on the monthly - installment - plan, and a silver trophy representative of high school football triumph. A pathetic tale examining the consequences of man's harmartias, Arthur Miller's "Death of A Salesman" satisfies many, but not all, of the essential elements of a tragedy.... [tags: Death of a Salesman Essays]
822 words (2.3 pages)
- Example: I asked Gina to accept my hand in marriage. She then smiled and as I awaited her response, her face appeared to diffuse just as leisurely as a dinner candle that is dripping its’ melting wax onto the fibers of an Egyptian, cotton tablecloth. The sentence example preceding this paragraph can be perplexing to any reader when any additional details are not given that describe the context in which this sentence has been written. Devoid of any transition in the opening sentence of this paper, the audience may not be able to discern whether the actions in the sentence are real or part of a dream or some alternate reality.... [tags: Writing Techniques, Playwrights]
871 words (2.5 pages)
- Death of a Salesman is probably one of Arthur Miller's greatest achievements. This play describes the sixty-three-year-old protagonist Willy Loman, a rounded and psychologically motivated individual. Willy is also a familiar American Philistine and even a universal type. He embodies the stupidity, immorality, self-delusion, and failure of middle-class values Miller portrays as being sterile and vicious. 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 associa... [tags: American Literature]
512 words (1.5 pages)
- Death of a Salesman was a powerful play, written by Arthur Miller, which was produced in 1949. He establishes a serious tone towards his subject. Also, Miller sets an ambiguous attitude towards the audience. Miller established a very serious tone about the relationship between the father, Willy, and his son, Biff. Miller feels that a father should always be loved. However, Willy has filled his son with false values, emphasizing flashy success and personal popularity, like being star quarterback for his football team, at the cost of real effort and personal integrity, like when Biff flunked his math exam.... [tags: essays research papers]
771 words (2.2 pages)
- It is known that in literature, a tragedy is one of the most popular genres. It always combines some story which discusses human sufferings with a certain sense of audience fulfillment. The roots of the tragedy are related to ancient Greece. A Greek tragedy is a sad story, which represents a character with a tragic flaw leading to his downfall. In addition, in traditional tragedy, the main character falls from high authority and often it is predetermined by fate, while the audience experiences catharsis (Bloom 2).... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
1644 words (4.7 pages)
- In the Death of a Salesman which main character seems most likely to be the classic enabler that tends to lead the family in its dysfunctional family dynamics. It has to be Linda Loman the wife of Willy Loman the highly respected “New England’s salesman” and mother to two sons Biffy, And Happy Loman. In the book there is an enabler for the family’s problems that seems to cause the conflicts between the family members that enabler is Linda Loman. Linda Loman is the enabler of the family because she just simply overlooks everything that her family does to avoid living in their reality.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Family, High school]
1739 words (5 pages)
- The Death of a Salesman Have you ever worked long and hard on a project, only to realize that it was effort wasted and the project was totally meaningless in the end. That is just what occurred in the play The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Willy Loman, the protagonist, spent decades in mind numbing work, only to discover that he had “built his life on shifting sand” (Nicholas). Through the course of his journey, Willy kept on the straight and narrow highway, which he thought would bring success and happiness.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Lee J. Cobb]
1138 words (3.3 pages)
- "The American Dream" is based on the 'Declaration of IndependenceÂ´: 'We believe that all men are born with these inalienable rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Â´ (Thomas Jefferson, 1776). This 'dreamÂ´ consists of a genuine and determined belief that in America, all things are possible to all men, regardless of birth or wealth; you work hard enough you will achieve anything. However, Miller says people have been 'ultimately misguidedÂ´. The origins of the American Dream seem to have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the 18th and 19th century immigrants, most of whom came to America because of a promise of a new and better life.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
1563 words (4.5 pages)
- Common Man as Tragic Hero in Death of a Salesman
- Crucial Role of Women in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
- Art and Nature in Shakespeare's The Tempest
- Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple
- Comparing Creon's Metamorphosis in Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus
- Symbols, Symbolism and Irony in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice