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The Life of an Aging Salesperson - Literature review Example

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The paper 'The Life of an Aging Salesperson' presents Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a salesman” which is a quintessential example of a modern tragedy. Arthur incorporates the tragic genre characteristic of the theatre together with challenges posed by the modern world…
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Download file to see previous pages The death of a salesperson focused on the rise and effect of capitalism in American society, in the 1950s. Capitalism led to the growth of consumerism among the American populations as everyone searched for his or her individual American dream. The dream, created by capitalistic principles, is all about people working hard for their goals that mostly comprise a comfortable life filled with one’s material desires. The plays’ main character, William Loman a salesperson, is hell-bent on achieving the American dream for his family despite his advanced age. In the course of the play, he tries to convince his son, Biff Loman, to aspire for greatness in life. Miller subtly criticizes Willy’s actions in attaining this dream who dies in the last scene of the play.
Consumerism occurs in society because of capitalism intertwined with the American dream. The latter is an illusion that American aristocrats serve up the population in order to increase their diligence in their work. Politicians and the media are also responsible for their prevalent nature in society. Using techniques such as setting and characterization, the playwright depicts the failure of people in a society that is fueled by success. Advertisements and other consumerism indicators fill the society Willy and his family live in.
The conversation that takes place between Willy and Linda depicts the extents of consumerism in the Loman household. The family acquires material possessions through credit that exaggerates their financial capability of affording the commodities. Arthur continues to employ symbolism in representing consumerism and the American dream. In a capitalistic society, characters like Willy are failures due to their lack of material possessions.
Furthermore, the capitalistic society of the 1950s pressurizes individuals into consumerism. “A hundred and twenty dollars! My God, if a business doesn’t pick up I don’t know what I’m gonna do!”(p.23). Willy states this to his wife as he counts the debts he borrowed trying to acquire all the ’mod cons’ during his lifetime. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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