Essay on Death of a Salesman

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“Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller in 1948 attempts to give the audience an unusual glimpse into the mind of a Willy Loman, a mercurial 60-year-old salesman, who through his endeavor to be “worth something”, finds himself struggling to endure the competitive capitalist world in which he is engulfed. Arthur Miller uses various theatrical techniques to gradually strip the protagonist down one layer at a time, each layer revealing another truth about his distorted past. By doing this, Miller succeeds in finally exposing a reasonable justification for Willy’s current state of mind. These techniques are essential to the play, as it is only through this development that Willy can realistically be driven to motives of suicide.

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Already here, the audience is aware of Willy’s strange ways, as well as the method with which Linda deals with it. This hints towards Linda’s truth-evasive nature at an early stage, and is emphasized by her tendency to deny Willy’s apparent problems: “Maybe it was the steering”, “Maybe it’s your glasses.” (Miller, 9).

Language plays an imperative role in the formation as well as the development of the characters. Unlike the majority of plays in the past, Death of a Salesman rarely uses “memorable speech” which was the most common form of dramatic language. Instead, for the most part, the characters speak in colloquial English. This automatically labels the family as a typical, middle-class family, therefore easily identifiable with for the audience. By doing so, Miller also discards of any artificial idealistic language, thereby adding to the crucial theme of realism in the play. The language presented by the characters however, is by no means invariant. Different characters use different language to expose their personalities, as well as varying it themselves depending on their current inner state of mind. The two most blatant examples of the way characters vary their language are Willy and Linda.

Willy throughout the play, uses a very simplistic colloquial English. This causes the audience to see him as the “every man” allowing them to further associate with him. One feature of his language that often draws attention to itself is

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