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Death Of A Salesman Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

The Tragedy of a Salesman
The Death of a Salesman was a dramatic play written by Arthur Miller in 1949. It is often considered to be one of the greatest American plays ever written or performed. Death of a Salesman was also turned into a movie version of the play almost a decade later due to its success. In addition, the play also won Arthur Miller the Pulitzer prize in 1949. In literature, tragedies are most commonly featured in dramatic works to explore the idea of human suffering in order to connect with the audience and gain the sympathy of the crowd. This type of literary genre contains a tragic hero, who encounters an event, or possesses a tragic flaw, that will inevitably led to the ...view middle of the document...

Willy’s obsession with the American Dream and ambition to be the best, ironically, brings forth the worst in him. He starts losing the sense of what is reality and what he desires from pushing himself so hard to reach a goal that is impossible for him to obtain.
The flashbacks and hallucinations Willy has during the play show the dramatic differences between the past and present, and reveals insights and characteristics about the characters in the play. One example of Willy’s flashbacks is during the first act when he sees his wife, Linda, mending a pair of socks and refuses to let her continue. Seeing his wife frustrated him and sends Willy into a flashback, reminding him of his infidelity and the pair of stockings he gave to his mistress. Willy’s perception of himself is not a positive one, although he tries to portray himself as the best he could possible be. He, himself, has failed as a salesman, he has cheated on his wife, and he has neglected to father his sons properly. Willy favors Biff over Happy, and this is shown in the first act when Happy asks, “Im losing weight, you notice pop?” (Miller) to which he does not get a response from his father. Although Willy strives to be the best, in a way he lives behind the shadows of his brother, Ben’s, success. In the first act of the play, Ben mentions to the Loman boys how he went to a jungle in Africa and walked out rich because he found a diamond mine. (Miller, 2142). Another instance of Willy’s insecurities are shown in the second act when he has a flashback in the office with Ben. He looks up to his older brother, in similarity to how Happy looks up to Biff. There are insecurities and Willy’s flaws lead to his tragic downfall when he is unable to sell anymore. The company he has helped build his whole life, no longer needs his services and he is fired. The true tragedy is revealed when Willy’s solution in aiding his family’s financial situation, is to commit suicide in order to collect his insurance money.
Towards the ending of the play, Willy expects to have a well-attended funeral, however, it was quite the contrary. Spending so much of his time trying to be successful, Willy was not very well liked by the community. His oldest son, Biff, is disgusted...

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