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The Crucible - Essay Example

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Summary
Death of a Salesman “When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing” (Miller and Bigsby vii). Historical Background Death of a Salesman was first performed in 1949, giving its playwright, Arthur Miller, eventual international attention as a writer (Moran 226)…
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The Crucible
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The Crucible

Download file to see previous pages... This suggests that not only does Willy Loman represent the ‘American Dream’, but the dreams and hopes of every man who wishes to do well by his family but is not quite living up to his own standards. The play won a Tony in 1999 for a revival of the work. Miller, then 84, was thrilled to be able to be at the awards show and see one of his greatest works receive such a prestigious award fifty years after it first was produced on Broadway (Moran 226). The work has lasted the test of time, the writing so poignant that the message is clear and understood even by modern audiences. It is possible that a modern audience can relate more deeply to the plight of Willy Loman. The depth to which consumerism has taken over the lives of Americans has lead to a belief that everyone is equally entitled to the luxuries of life and that it is not relevant to the socio-economic status of the individual. According to Marron, one myth of debt “presents credit as the social equalizer, of promoting higher standards of living among the masses and allowing all to enjoy the realization of the consumerist desires” (3). Willy Loman lives by reaching for that standard of living without having actually reached that standard of income and this is a familiar lifestyle to the modern American public. According to Cody and Sprinchorm “The working title of the play was “The Inside of his Head” which is where the play takes place - the immediate events, the evocations of the past, the fantasy memories” (336). The staging of the play is done in such a way that the past and the present can converge, Willy’s memories weaving in with his present experiences in order to reveal how he has arrived to this place where he feels he must make a dire sacrifice for his family. Jo Meilzner was the original set designer for the first production of Death of a Salesman. He designed the set with multiple levels so that the movement from one space to the next was done through lighting rather than changing the stage. He created effects that could change the time period in which the dialogue was taking place as Willy’s memories converged with his present circumstances. “When lighted from the rear, the buildings washed out to be replaced with projections of trees with leaves, suggesting Willy’s remembered past with its bright sunshine and cheerful ambiance” (Barranger 258). Influences of Memory The way in which memory is used within the play is indicative of the way in which Miller saw the act of remembering in relationship to the present circumstances of a man. While often times memory was part of a flashback or was brought up through conflict that resulted in revelation, Miller chose to place memory into the present, creating a living, palpable presence that was part of the moment. Miller stated that “There are no flashbacks in this play… but only a mobile concurrency of past and present” (Cody and Sprinchorn 336). This can be witnessed within the interchange between Willy and Charley when the memory of his brother Ben intrudes upon their conversation. Ben: Is Mother living with you? Willy: No, she died a long time ago. Charley: Who? Ben: That’s too bad. Fine specimen of a lady, Mother. Willy (to Charley): Heh? Ben: I’d hoped to see the old girl. Charley: Who died? Ben: Heard anything from Father, have you? Willy (unnerved): What do you mean, who ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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