Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman can be seen as an eulogy of a
dreamer, which depicts one man's tragic life and death as he tries to bring
his family into grace. Miller does, however, also uses this play to
express underlying themes and ideas. Reading Death of a Salesman from the
starting point of a Marxist results in the perception that miller uses his
play as a means to demonstrate the effects of a changing capitalist society.
On the other hand, a psychological reading of Death of a Salesman allows
the play to be seen as one mans flight from shame and his own weakened self
image. The Marxist perspective is a viable reading of this drama but it
does not truly define it as a tragedy. To better understand this piece of
literature as a tragedy one should observe the psychological reading which
depicts the tragedy of one man.
Many people wonder if Willy is really responsible for his own death,
or is he, as Luke Carrol put it in the Herald Tribune, " a pathetic little
man caught in an undertow that's too strong for him." Willy Loman is
bewildered by a capitalist system which drives it's men into frantic, all
consuming dreams of success, doomed not only by their grandiosity but also
their inherent contradictoriness.
Willy's dreams of success are rooted in the concept of the
"American Dream", which is the idea that this is a land of unlimited
opportunity in which any ragamuffin can attain riches and any mother's son
can become president (Hadomi 159). This concept of success is personified
by two characters in the play: David Singleman and ...
... middle of paper ...
...true tragedy of this play.
Breecher, Richard. "Willy Loman and the Soul of a Neew Machine:
Technology and the Common Man." Journal of American Studies 17 (Dec.
1983): 325 - 336.
Hadomi, Leah. "Fantasy and Reality: Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a
Salesman." Modern Drama 31 (June 1988): 157 - 174.
Koon, Helene, ed. Twenteth Century Interpretations of Death of a Salesman.
New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1983.
Meyer, Micheal. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Boston: Bedford
Books of St. Martin's Press, 1989
Sue, David, Sue, Derald, and Sue, Stanley. Understanding Abnormal Behavior.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.
Welleck, Judith S. "Kohut's Tragic Man." Clinical Social Work Journal.
(1993): 216 - 224
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