Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman is wrought with symbolism from the opening scene. Many symbols illustrate the themes of success and failure. They include the apartment buildings, the rubber hose, Willy’s brother Ben, the tape recorder, and the seeds for the garden. These symbols represent Willy’s attempts to be successful and his impending failure.
When Willy and Linda purchased their home in Brooklyn, it seemed far removed form the city. Willy was young and strong and he believed he had a future full of success. He and his sons cut the tree limbs that threatened his home and put up a hammock that he would enjoy with his children. The green fields filled his home with wonderful aromas. Over the years, while Willy was struggling to pay for his home, the city grew and eventually surrounded the house. Tall apartment buildings “trapped” Willy’s house. Instead of pleasing aromas there were only foul smells filling the home. The development around the home parallels the changes in Willy’s career. Willy had a bright future, but he did not grow and “develop” his skills, believing that a good appearance was all that was necessary to succeed. Over time, Willy’s sales skills became stagnant and Willy was “trapped” in his job. The sweet smell of success had been replaced by the stench of failure.
The rubber hose represents both success and failure. It is attached to the gas main in Willy’s house and provides him with the opportunity to commit suicide. Willy sees this as a way to finally do something for his family to make up for years of disappointment. He will no longer be a burden to them when he is gone, and they will remember him in a posit...
... middle of paper ...
...r because he did not change with the times. Finally, Willy hoped to show his family that he could do something right and give them a little pleasure by planting seeds in the backyard. He hoped that these seeds would grow into a wonderful garden for all of them to enjoy. Then his family would appreciate him. But the garden fails, as does Willy.
Works Cited and Consulted
Baym, Franklin, Gottesman, Holland, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 4th ed. New York: Norton, 1994.
Costello, Donald P. “Arthur Miller’s Circles of Responsibility: A View From a Bridgeand Beyond.” Modern Drama. 36 (1993): 443-453.
Florio, Thomas A., ed. “Miller’s Tales.” The New Yorker. 70 (1994): 35-36.
Martin, Robert A., ed. Arthur Miller. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982.
---. Eight Plays. New York: Nelson Doubleday, 1981.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Crazy Man and His Symbols An analysis of the symbols in “Death of a Salesman” Many times authors use symbolism to get their point across, and to further the readers understanding of the plot in many different lights so as to increase the intelligence of the reader. Symbolism is a major part of any story, however, whether or not this symbolism is a material object or actual phrase, dialogue, or anything else, does not matter, because every story has some sort of symbolism that increases the value of the play or story.... [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Character]
1328 words (3.8 pages)
- Symbolism in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman In his play, Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller employs many symbols to illustrate the themes of success and failure. They include the rubber hose, the tape recorder, and the seeds for the garden. These symbols represent Willy's final, desperate attempts to be successful and the failure he cannot escape. The rubber hose represents both success and failure. It is attached to the gas main in Willy's house and provides him with the opportunity to commit suicide.... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
969 words (2.8 pages)
- Since the beginning of the Industrial Age, Americans have idealized the journey towards economic success. One thing people do not realize, however, is that journey is not the same for every individual. Media often leads its viewers toward a “one size fits all” version of success that may help themselves, but will rarely help the viewers. This is seen in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Miller includes multiple instances of symbolism and personification to reveal to the reader the situational irony in Willy’s life, underlining the theme of self-deception in regard to the American Dream.... [tags: being blind, personification, symbolism]
1336 words (3.8 pages)
- Death of a Salesman Within the drama, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the Lowman family is presented within the post war economy trying to achieve the American Dream. The father, Willy Lowman, represents a well-off salesman that demonstrates a persistent husband and father figure throughout the late 1940s and early 1950’s. Throughout this piece, Willy desires for his two sons, Biff and Happy, to follow in his footsteps as a salesman and to represent themselves throughout the economic decline.... [tags: Tragedy, Arthur Miller, Drama, Family, Symbol]
802 words (2.3 pages)
- ... The action does not take place in a weird location; just the opposite, in both plays, the setting is accepted as similar to their own everyday environments. Both settings are up-to-date, reflecting the time period in which they were written. In each play, the setting for the characters’ homes symbolizes the imprisoned, powerless nature of its residents. Overwhelming features surrounds both homes: in The Glass Menagerie, frightening tenements and dark alleys; in Death of a Salesman, tall apartment buildings that block out the light.... [tags: settings, symbolism, characterization]
1150 words (3.3 pages)
- From the time Arthur Miller began writing plays, till his recent death in 2005, he had never had such a well know play as Death of a Salesman. This play was first performed in the late 1940’s. It reveals the struggle of an old, worn out, salesman who is upset with the life that he has created. With the strain of his past mistakes lurking in the back of his mind, Willy cannot handle the stress and begins to have hallucinations of the past about the things he could have changed. 1.) Towards the end of Willy’s life he is beginning to realizing all the destruction not only of himself, but of his family, marriage, and job.... [tags: Arthur Miller, Death of A Salesman, ]
1228 words (3.5 pages)
- Arthur Miller was an American playwright whose critique of problems outlined his genius. Miller’s most known play is Death of a Salesman and throughout this paper i 'll detour through many different aspects of this work of literature, Being born on October 17, 1915 in harlem New york, Arthur Miller was raised in a semi upper class house until his family lost almost everything in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. In the play Death of a salesman it explores the obstacles of the differences between a New York family 's dreams and the reality of their lives.... [tags: Character, Protagonist, Antagonist, Arthur Miller]
1196 words (3.4 pages)
- Tension in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge The whole of this play involves symbolism, on many different levels. The end scene, in which Eddie takes his own life with his own knife, is symbolic of the self-destructive nature that led to such an ending. As Arthur Miller wished to write 'a modern Greek tragedy´ it is likely that the symbolism of the dagger is Eddie’s sexuality, which drove him to his drastic actions and eventually death. During the confrontation earlier in the play Marco raised a chair like a weapon, symbolic of the fight yet to come.... [tags: A View from the Bridge Arthur Miller Essays]
3258 words (9.3 pages)
- Reality and Illusion in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman In Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, a major theme and source of conflict is the Loman family’s inability to distinguish between reality and illusion. This is particularly evident in the father, Willy Loman. Willy has created a fantasy world of himself and his family. In this world, he and his sons are men of greatness that “have what it takes” to make it in the business environment. In reality, none of them can achieve this greatness until they confront and deal with this illusion.... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
1076 words (3.1 pages)
- Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman contains many themes of success and failure. They include the apartment buildings, the rubber hose, Willy's brother Ben, the tape recorder, and the seeds for the garden. These symbols represent Willy's attempts to be successful and his impending failure. In the start Willy and Linda moved to a home in Brooklyn, as it at the time seemed far removed form the city.... [tags: Papers]
899 words (2.6 pages)
- Role of Women in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
- The American Dream Conspiracy in Death of a Salesman
- Perils of Addiction Exposed in Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Dreams and Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
- Symbolism and Devices in Stephen Crane's The Open Boat
- A Hero of Our Time - Gregoriy Pechorin is No Hero