A Comparison of Tennessee Williams´ The Glass Menagerie and Arthur Miller´s Death of a Salesman

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller are two of the twentieth century’s best-known plays. The differences and similarities between both of the plays are hidden in their historical and social contexts. The characters of The Glass Menagerie and the Death of a Salesman are trapped by the constraints of their everyday lives, unable to communicate with their loved ones and being fearful for their future. There are a lot of comparisons that exist, especially between the settings, symbolism and characterization drawn between the two plays. The contrast comes form the ways that the characters choose to deal or not with the harsh circumstances of life. The Glass…show more content…
Both settings are up-to-date, reflecting the time period in which they were written. In each play, the setting for the characters’ homes symbolizes the imprisoned, powerless nature of its residents. Overwhelming features surrounds both homes: in The Glass Menagerie, frightening tenements and dark alleys; in Death of a Salesman, tall apartment buildings that block out the light. In each case, the message seems to be that as difficult and restrictive as life may be inside the home, the outside is terrifying and overwhelming. For both Amanda Wingfield and Willy Loman, the configurations that outshine their homes are like the fears that outshine their own lives. Amanda is worried that her son Tom will leave home, or even worse. She is also afraid that if Tom leaves, she cannot rely on her daughter Laura to support the household. When Amanda founds that Laura has dropped out of Business College, she feels petrified for her future. Willy is afraid of being unable to support his family after losing his job. Between the two plays further symbolic parallels can be identified. The Wingfield home represents Tom’s bondage; he is obligated to work at a job that he hates so he can support the family. The Loman home represents Willy’s bondage; he is working to pay the mortgage and the refrigerator payment. Both Tom and Willy have big dreams that are blocked by such ordinary responsibilities. By reporting the

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