Failures in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

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Failures in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller develops a number of significant and central themes throughout the play using techniques such as characterization, setting and language. The best explored theme in the play is the theme of failure and disappointments. 'Death of a Salesman' is a modern day play about a salesman, Willy Loman, his life and his failures in a success driven society and world. He is a victim of "The American Dream" destroyed by false promises and ideals. As the play unravels we realize that he more than just a financial failure but also socially, personally and morally. These failures and faults are not only confined to him but they rub off on his family.
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This again indicates Willy's lost opportunities in life. So Willy is surrounded by great successes in a society where success and money is what is respected. This means that Willy is far from respected.

A technique Miller employs is using language to aid deeper meanings in the storyline. It is used frequently throughout the play. The references to the 'jungle' as the setting for Ben's ruthless success carries uneasy connotations of a place where only the fittest will survive and in which weaker members will die. Indicating that Willy will not survive in the financial world.

Even after all that Willy went through with his own failure and his sons he still does not understand why it happened to them. He believes that the only keys to success are contacts and popularity. Unfortunately, in the business of sales, Willy has outlived his contacts and his popularity (if he ever had them) and is now unable to make any money. The best example of this is when Biff failed Maths and was going to fail school Willy said he would

"talk to his teacher and she'd understand".

This shows that Willy thinks he can get by in life by being popular and charming but he realizes the hard way that this is not true.

Willy Lowman's home is presented as 'small and fragile', surrounded by a wall of apartment blocks whose presence contributes to the trapped, claustrophobic