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Death of the salesman - Assignment Example

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Willy Loman is a patriarch of a middle-class family from Brooklyn and has travelled for more than 30 years in the coast of New England (Miller, n.p.). Willy…
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Death of the Salesman Synopsis Arthur Miller wrote the “Death of the Salesman” in 1949 narrating a sixty-three-year-old salesman named Willy Loman. Willy Loman is a patriarch of a middle-class family from Brooklyn and has travelled for more than 30 years in the coast of New England (Miller, n.p.). Willy is increasingly worried on how to make ends meet and on the extremely exhausting and unsatisfying job he has. The script reflected a lot of flashbacks, memories and reflective moments of Willy Loman.
Willy has two sons named Biff and Happy. Biff, the older son, has been toiling on farms and ranches and was always in argument with his father. He manifested an inability to maintain a 9-to-5 job to support his life and to meet the high expectations of Loman. On the other hand, Happy has a steady job but keeps on playing around with girls and has not gone far in business. The two brothers only came back home to visit their parents and stayed in the bedroom where they used to share as boys.
Restlessness and troubled thoughts preoccupied Willy when he returned home from an aborted sales trip. His wife, Linda, noticed Willy’s difficulties and urged him to speak to his boss and request a position that would not require travelling. Willy recalled the times when he was still a young father full of vitality, had an optimistic business outlook, and dreamed of success. Likewise, he also reminisced on his brother Ben, who left for Africa to mine diamonds and became financially successful.
Happy and Biff found Willy’s behavior erratic and asked their mother about things that bothered Willy. The two brothers learned that Willy has lost his salary and worked only on commission. Linda also told the brothers that Willy tried to kill himself. Learning these, Biff came to a realization that he had to change his life and find a decent job to help his parents.
The next day, Willy has been upset of knowing that he has been fired from job. His neighbor Charlie offered him a job but he refused to accept it because of pride and instead, borrowed money from Charlie to pay for the bills and insurance premium.
In a restaurant, Willy met his sons and end up shouting because of Biff’s constant failure and Willy’s verbalization of the loss of job. The two sons left Willy who became tormented again with fragmented thoughts. Back at home, Linda argued with her sons why they left Willy but Biff broke down with anger due to Willy’s suicide attempts. Willy reflected that to manifest love, he decided to commit suicide so that his life insurance policy would provide Biff with the wealth he needs to start a new life. The script ended with Willy’s funeral and family members reflecting on his life and legacy.
Critique
The title of the script lacks suspense and revealed what will eventually happen to the main character. Major highlights of the script were also revealed earlier such as Loman being a failure, an incapable travelling salesman, and a suicidal individual – which pre-empted the suspense that most of the audiences look for in a play. In addition, one found it unbelievable that Loman refused the job offered by Charlie that could give him the chance to start a new life and instead, computed the insurance amount that he could get and opted to commit suicide as a resolution of the conflict.
Conflicts between the father and son due to failure to achieve the American Dream is too superficial, indicating that familial conflicts were uprooted in material things and not in issues of love and support. Thus, Willy’s American Dream and perception of worth as a father was apparently based on consumerism, ambition, and social stature which encompassed the central theme of the script. Furthermore, thematic points also encompassed evading responsibility through suicide and inability of Willy to separate fantasy from reality. In general, the use of the term “tragic” in the play clearly depicts the life of Willy, as a salesman, whose life summarily ended to fulfill the dreams of a loved one.
Works Cited
Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman.” Guthrie Theater. 2004. Web. April 15, 2012, from www.guthrietheater.org. Read More
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