Dangers Behavior Exposed in Death of a Salesman Essay

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Dangers Behavior Exposed in Death of a Salesman

   Everyone has personal problems that they must face. In the play, Death of a Salesman, the author, Arthur Miller, explores the ways in which some people deal with these problems. Miller reveals Willy Lowman’s tendency to ignore problems as long as possible.  Willy never really does anything to help his situation; he just uses flashbacks to escape into the past.   Through his flashbacks he returns to happier times when problems were scarce. He uses this escape mechanism as if it were a harmless drug that allowed him to cope with living. As the play progresses, the reader learns that even a harmless drug can be dangerous because of the potential for addiction.

The first time Willy is seen lapsing off into the past is when he encounters Biff after arriving home. The conversation between Willy and Linda reflects Willy's disappointment in Biff and what he has become - a bum. After failing to deal adequately with his feelings, he escapes back into a time when things were better for his family. It is not uncommon for someone experiencing a low point in life to reminisce about better times.  This enables him to rouse himself so that he can deal with the problems he encounters in the present. Willy Lowman takes it one step further. His refusal to accept reality is so strong that, in his mind, he is transported back in time to relive the happier days of his life. It was a time when Willy and Linda were younger, no one argued, the financial situation was less of a burden, and Biff and Happy enthusiastically welcomed their father back home from long road trips. After a flashback, Willy's need for the "drug" is satiated and he is reassured that everything will turn out okay, and th...

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...and disillusioned sons.

Works Cited

Field, B.S.  “Death of a Salesman” Twentieth Century Literature.  January, 1972. 19-24.  Rpt. in World Literary Criticism.  Ed. Frank Magill.

  “Arthur Miller” Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.  2366-2368.

Hoeveler, D. J.  “Ben’s Influence.”  Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman: Modern Critical Interpretations.  Ed.

Harold Blum.  Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1988. 72-81.

Magill, Frank.  “Death of a Salesman.”  Master Plots.  Englewood Cliffs: Salem, 1976.  1365-1368.

Miller, Arthur.  Death of a Salesman.  New York: Penguin, 1969.

---.  Conversations With Arthur Miller.  Jackson: Mississippi UP, 1987.

Parker, Brian.  “Point of View in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.”  Arthur Miller: A Collection of Critical Essays. 

Ed. Robert Corrigan.  Englewood Cliffs:  Prentice Hall, 1969.  98-107.

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