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
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Author and Era: Death of a Salesman, the “first great American Tragedy,” is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. Miller is known for being a true activist, supporting and participating in many liberal issues, including the civil rights struggle and the protest against the Vietnam War. The basis for Death of a Salesman lies in Arthur Miller’s relationship with his uncle Manny Newman, a salesman. Miller expresses Manny’s emotions through Willy Loman, the main protagonist. In successfully doing so, Miller has been deemed an American who understands the true nature and values of the United States (Bloom).... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller]
1292 words (3.7 pages)
- Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is a realist play which criticizes modern society; Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party is an absurdist play that examines human existence and language through deformed realism. There is apparently nothing common between the two plays; however, there is a similarity: contradiction and ambiguity are shown in the language of both plays. As I look into this issue, differences in the features and purposes of contradiction and ambiguity are found. By contradiction and ambiguity, I mean that many details in the plays are contradicting according to different conversations in different scenes.... [tags: Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, play]
1013 words (2.9 pages)
- Death of a Salesman, Miller’s most famous work, addresses the painful conflicts within one family, but it also tackles larger issues regarding American national values. The play examines the cost of blind faith in the American Dream. In this respect, it offers a postwar American reading of personal tragedy in the tradition of Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle. Miller charges America with selling a false myth constructed around a capitalist materialism nurtured by the postwar economy, a materialism that obscured the personal truth and moral vision of the original American Dream described by the country’s founders.... [tags: essays research papers]
694 words (2 pages)
Literary Realism in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
- Literary realism is the trend, beginning with mid nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors, toward depictions of contemporary life and society as it was, or is. In the spirit of general "realism," realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. (Wikipedia, Literary Realism) Realism, a style of writing that gives the impression of recording or ‘reflecting’ faithfully an actual way of life.... [tags: Reality, Life]
2461 words (7 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)
- Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" reflects the numerous issues post-war United States was dealing with during the late 1940's when it was written. Death of a Salesman was written and published in 1949, when the United States was booming with new economic capabilities and new found power, resulting in a golden age regardless of the growing tensions of the threat of communist invasion. Racial violence and the escalating issues regarding the deluded American dream that was turning out to be quite different than that which our founding fathers had originally idealized.... [tags: Miller Death Salesman]
1490 words (4.3 pages)
- Dehumanization in Death of a Salesman Alienation and loneliness are two of the frequently explored themes in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Yet they can also cause other effects which are just as harmful, if not more so. In Death of a Salesman, two of these other results are dehumanization and a loss of individual freedom. This is a very complex web of emotions, but as Miller said, “Death of a Salesman is not, of course, in the realistic tradition, having broken out into quite a new synthesis of psychological and social dimensions” (Eight vii). It did indeed “break out” in the modernist direction. It is a wonderful example of the way modernist writers expressed their belie... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
1236 words (3.5 pages)
- Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Many times while reading modern literature you will hear reference to the “American Dream”. What the various authors and or readers must decide is whether or not this is a true goal. There are many arguments that state that the “American Dream” is a figment of imagination. There are others that believe this is an attainable goal. One of the discussions that is held is what the true definition of the “American Dream” is. There are beliefs that think money and power are the ideal things to strive for.... [tags: Arthur Miller Death Salesman]
1761 words (5 pages)
- The objectives of this written task were to show how Willy’s family (Linda, Biff and Happy) viewed his death and his achievements. I also attempted to illustrate their individual relationships with Willy. I chose to use the format of a formal police report as it allows all three characters to express their views of Willy freely. Emotions were adjusted to the minimum since this is a police report, except for the case of Linda whom I consider would be too weak at that point to control herself. Their stories do not correspond exactly because some are trying to hide the facts.... [tags: Arthur Miller Death Salesman]
1198 words (3.4 pages)
- Death of a Modernist Salesman The modernist movement in writing was characterized by a lack of faith in the traditional ways of explaining life and its meaning. Religion, nationalism, and family were no longer seen as being infallible. For the modernist writers, a sense of security could no longer be found. They could not find any meaning or order in the old ways. Despair was a common reaction for them. The dilemma they ran into was what to do with this knowledge. Poet Robert Frost phrased their question best in his poem “The Oven Bird.” Frost’s narrator and the bird about which he is speaking both are wondering “what to make of a diminished thing” (Baym 1103). The modernis... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
3525 words (10.1 pages)