Death of a Salesman Literature - Essay Example

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Death of a Salesman Name: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction Author Miller presents a rare story of Willy Lowman, a salesman on the decline due to his inability to keep pace with world issues and changes that occur in the dynamic business environment during the post World War II period…
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Death of a Salesman Literature Essay
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Download file to see previous pages This play brings out unique characters in Willy as a failure who chases the disillusioned American dream. He has un-programmed thinking of patterns, unrealistic quest for success, his inability to detach himself from the failures and achievements of the past all play out to influence his defeat at the end. This paper discusses cultural homogeneity as advanced in the earlier years, emanating conflicts between conformity and individuality, tradition and innovation, stability and disruption as presented in Author Miller’s Death of Salesman in light of the American dream. One of the central themes that are advanced by Miller is a true depiction of the American society and family. The roles and different characterizations of Willy, Linda, Biff, and Happy provide a reflection of an average American family and society. Willy is the central character in this play and at the point of conflict. The author personifies him as an old fashioned working man who attaches a great amount of belief in the American societal values and virtues, yet the society has been largely affected by corruption. His individualism makes him to believe in total determination and due hard work so that he may be able to provide for the needs of his family, climb the career ladder and build his home. As the plays advances Willy fails to fulfill these values. He is therefore a true personification of the American dream unfulfilled. In his literary writing, Baym notes the American dream consisted of “a stable conformity to American life, a dedication to an increasingly materialistic standard of living, whose ethical merit was ensured by a continuity with the prewar world—a continuity that proved to be delusory” (Baym, et. al, 2008) In the American context, individualism existed long in the Pre-World War era with the notion of a ‘self made’ person that encouraged individual prosperity regardless of the available business methodology. Cullen suggests that this is the ‘era that consisted of people who created financial kingdoms that toured entirely above all national imagination.’ (Cullen, 2003). This business thinking of ‘winner-take it all’ in managing business dominated the industrial age and perhaps lived on up to the time of Willy Lowman. Death of a salesman is then set by the end of industrial age with a significant shift towards suburban conformity neglecting individualism that created financial and business prosperity for many Americans a depicted by the character in Ben. But even with this shift, traces if individualists who still believed in the old industrial generation still existed. This is the exact dilemma that Willy finds himself into, his inability to conform to the new business dimensions and failure to climb the career ladder. The author brings us the old Willy who had experienced great strides of success in the industrial era as a salesman and one who is unable to survive in the new business world. Contrastingly enough Willy understands his predicament and tells his wife, Linda that, “…Linda, people don’t seem to take an interest in me…I don’t know why, but they just neglect me” (Miller, 1976) Willy’s predicament can be attributed to his failure to change and conform to the current post war era but instead clings onto the past businesses individualistic practices of the 1950’s, and as such still holds that people can still succeed in business with nothing except an imposing personality ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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