Critical Response: Death of a Salesman
The lives of the Loman’s from beginning to end seems troubling, the play is centered on trying to be successful or trying to be happy, and the sacrifice which must be made of one to achieve the other. The environment that these characters live in encourages them to pursue the American dream, which can be said to devalue happiness through the pursuit of material success. Death of A Salesman written by Arthur Miller has several themes that run through the play, one of the most obvious is the constant striving for success. Willy Loman put his family through endless torture because of his search for a successful life. Willy, Biff, and Happy are chasing the American dream instead of examining themselves …show more content…
Biff and Happy idolized their father when they were young. The stories they were told made them picture their father as a popular, successful, well-known salesman. As Biff grew up, he found himself being told things about his father like "A salesman has to dream, it comes with the territory." At the end of the story when Linda says they we free, Biff is free to realize
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In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s character, Willy Loman, is desperately trying to achieve the unattainable American Dream. Throughout the play, Willy encounters many challenges that have derailed his course and his perseverance drives him and his family insane.
In Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman’s life seems to be slowly deteriorating. It is clear that Willy’s predicament is of his own doing, and that his own foolish pride and ignorance lead to his downfall. Willy’s self-destruction involved the uniting of several aspects of his life and his lack of grasping reality in each, consisting of, his relationship with his wife, his relationship and manner in which he brought up his children, Biff and Happy, and lastly his inability to productively earn a living and in doing so, failure to achieve his “American Dream”.
In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the audience sees the Loman family’s internal struggle with the failure of their lives. The main antagonists are the protagonists themselves, and their failure to distinguish realistic goals from wild fantasies resulted in their downfall. Symbolizing the common household, the characters reveal to the viewers that the “American Dream” does not guarantee happiness, and that forcing one to pursue it may even lead to depression and sadness. The theme of unfulfilled dreams is prevalent throughout the play because of Willy’s failure at obtaining the American dream, Biff’s desires being restricted because of his father, and Happy’s lack of affection from his dad. Willy Loman’s fruitless yet desperate attempt
Willy Loman, the main character in Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, wants to live the American dream. He is consumed with his own misguided beliefs regarding success, which causes his life to be similar what Wyoming Senator Craig L. Thomas said about the American Dream: “You stuff Someone into the American dream, and it becomes a prison.” Willy’s obsession with the American Dream, believing that being well liked equates with success, keeps both he and his sons in a state of emotional immaturity. These beliefs causes the American Dream to be a prison. The Loman family’s American Dream becomes their prison, constructed of deception and false pride. They cannot escape their immature behavior of
In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the author conveys the reader about how a person lives his life when he or she cannot live the “American Dream.” Willy Loman, the main character in the play is a confused and tragic character. He is a man who is struggling to hold onto what morality he has left in a changing society that no longer values the ideals he grew up to believe in. Even though the society he lives in can be blamed for much of his misfortune, he must also be the blame for his bad judgment, disloyalty and his foolish pride.
San Joaquin Delta College presented Arthur Miller 's Death of A Salesman on Sunday the twenty-second of March at 2 o 'clock in the afternoon. This play is about a young man and his father coming to terms with the past and their futures. Willy Loman, an old salesman, is dealing with both financial and health difficulties. He is put under even more pressure when his unsuccessful son, Biff, returns home. Actor, director, and sound designer, Harvey T. Jordan, played the role of Willy in this production. His directing, acting, and sound effects allowed me to grasp the despaired nature of Willy Loman 's character. The theme of this story is respect and the nature of success. Willy wished that when he is dead, his death would be mourned far and wide. Hoping to have the reputation of a famous salesman; in other words he wants to die “The Death of a Salesman”. After Willie heard about a well-liked salesman, one that is known in all the cities he visits and that can make sales just by picking up the phone, Willie thinks that this job is easy, but he soon discovers the stress a truly dedicated salesman must go through.
Many workers today go through a low time or a struggle and give up. Today’s workers do not necessarily commit suicide when they are in a low point but they do things such as quitting the job or relying on government assistance. Willy strives to achieve the American dream and he eventually realizes that he has failed and gives up on life. This dream is a belief in America and that all things are possible if you work hard enough (Criticism of ' the American Dream' in 'Death of a Salesman'). Arthur Miller uses this story to expose the problems with pursuit of such a dream: “What Miller attacks, then, is not the American Dream of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, but the dream as interpreted and pursued by those for whom ambition replaces human need and the trinkets of what Miller called the ‘new American Empire in the making’ are taken as tokens of true value” (Bigsby). “Death of a Salesman” creates a challenge to the American Dream and shows that an American should live a prosperous and plentiful life instead of get lost and die tragically (Criticism of ' the American Dream' in 'Death of a Salesman'). Gradually throughout the play, Willy gets farther and farther away from achieving his idea of the American Dream. His income slowly decreases to nothing: “as a salesman, Willy stages a performance for buyers, for his sons, for the father who deserted him, the brother he admired. Gradually, he loses his audience, first the buyers, then his son, then his boss” (Bigsby). His problem is that he completely surrenders to the American Dream and by the team he realizes his mistake, he has nothing to fall back on (Panesar). If Willy would have embraced his natural talent for manual labor and his family’s love for the countryside, the Lomans could have a totally different lifestyle (Panesar). Towards the end of the play, Willy became overwhelmed
On the other hand, Willy is also emotionally involved with Biff because his son’s success of failure is his own. By becoming rich and influential, the handsome, personable Biff was slated to provide his own modest advancement. By making his fortune in the business world, Biff would prove that Willy had been right in turning down
In the play “Death of a Salesman”, by Arthur Miller, the primary theme can be seen as a conflict between man and society. In which the ambition to achieve the “American Dream” controls the life of Willy Loman and the influences he has. When success is not reached, sends Willy’s mind on a mental ride.
Willy’s biggest issue with his son is that he let him down by not being any more successful than him. He feels like Biff is failing on purpose just to make him look bad. Although, he has no decent job and is single; Biff has become disoriented about life. Earlier in the play Biff tells Happy, “I tell ya Hap, I don't know what the future is. I don't know - what I'm supposed to want” (Miller266). Biff once looked up to his father as a role model, but lost all faith in him once finding out that he was having an affair. Ever since he has rejected Willy’s commitment of being a husband and also a father. To add to his ruins are Willy’s ideas of how Biff should get ahead in life. Willy taught Biff that popularity was the right way to get to the top, rather than hard-work and dedication. Trying to live by his dad’s standards caused Biff to fail high school and become unable to put forth the effort to become
What a person does to make a living often defines who that person is. Because so much time and energy is invested into work, work is often seen as an extension of oneself. One of the first questions that someone asks after meeting you for the first time is about what you do for a living. The belief is that by knowing what you do, one should be able to tell something about who you are. People almost never ask the more telling question of whether or not you are happy. They rely on the nature of the occupation to tell them something about your happiness. If you are a doctor, lawyer, or celebrity, it is assumed you are happy because of the money associated with those
Willy’s clear-cut expectations of his son can be evidently seen even in the early stages Biff’s life, which end up creating a lot of tension between Willy and Biff when Biff doesn’t meet his father’s expectations. Even when Biff is an adult and still hasn’t become successful in his father’s eyes, Willy’s expectations persist, as in a heated argument between the two Willy tells grown-up Biff that “the door of [Biff’s] life is wide open!” (132). Even though Biff will clearly never become successful in his father’s eyes, Willy still forces his unreasonable expectations on Biff, creating hostility between the two. Although Biff initially attempts to fulfill his father’s definition of success by working as a shipping clerk, Biff realizes that he will never fulfill his father’s unrealistic expectations: “Pop, I’m nothing!
Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman follows protagonist Willy Loman in his search to better his and his family’s lives. Throughout Willy Loman’s career, his mind starts to wear down, causing predicaments between his wife, two sons and close friends. Willy’s descent into insanity is slowly but surely is taking its toll on him, his job and his family. They cannot understand why the man they have trusted for support all these years is suddenly losing his mind. Along with his slope into insanity, Willy’s actions become more aggressive and odd as the play goes on. Despite Willy and Biff’s “family feud”, his two sons Happy and Biff truly worry about their father’s transformation, Happy saying: “He just wants you to make good, that’s all. I
The term success is a word that many strive to achieve during their lifetime . The term can withhold different definitions based upon the individual and how they would particularly consider a person successful, whether it's through having the appreciation and love from family, possessing an immense amount of money, or even having a great deal of respect from their community. The role of succes in Death of a Salesman plays not only as one of the vital themes however , Arthur Miller uses, “success” to allow readers to better understand the complexity of his characters. The endeavour to earn success causes the readers to view the true hardships and consequences behind fulfilling , “The American Dream”.In the Death of a Salesman, we are introduced to the protagonist Willy Loman who urgently searches for his success, desperate to prove his worthiness of the title.We also take a glimpse of two other important characters. Willy’s sons Billy and Happy Loman who struggle to come to terms with their father’s failures and there separate ideas of true success. As we are first introduced to Willy we learn that in the past, he was indeed a successful salesman whose family had a intimate connection ,despite the fact he was simultaneously committing adultery. Fast forward 15 years and Loman's character is depicted as an unassertive, self-decepted, individual with a slowly failing business as a sales representative.Loman throughout the play has trouble with accepting the failure of his, “ American Dream” and often hallucinates his reality. His wife Linda, encourages these hallucinations in order to allow her husband to continue to live with certainty of who he is as person. This gradually causes Loman to be blinded by the superficial reality of what makes an individual ultimately successful. He uses this as an opportunity to blame other bystanders for his current non success in reality. “There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And the one on the other side… How can they whip cheese? (Act 1,17)”, here is an example of his arrogance he uses as an excuse for his ongoing failure rather than him simply owning up to his broad
"Death of A Salesman," by Arthur Miller, is a play that tells the story of a traveling salesman, Willy Loman, who encounters frustration and failure as he reflects on and experiences his own life. Willy's quest for the American Dream leads to his failure because throughout his life, he pursues the illusion of the American Dream and not the reality of it. His mindset on perfection, his obsession with success, and his constant reminiscence of the past and foretelling of the future, all contribute to his defeat in the end.