Struggles and Tensions in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

1437 Words 6 Pages
In drama, struggles and tensions within the lives of characters and the situations they face are important for the building of the plot and maintaining the attention of the audience. In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson, the main characters of the plays face struggles which move the plot along, while adding anticipation and excitement. Willy and Troy face struggles internally and externally with society. Willy struggles with failing business, while Troy struggles with feelings of being segregated form society. Both men also face conflicts with their marriages and with their relationships with their sons. These struggles are evident throughout the entire play and are enhanced by many examples. …show more content…
His whole life has been built around his job and building a financially stable household. Now he struggles to keep a steady income. Willy understands society's emphasis on the importance of a profitable worker. Linda says, "A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company for thirty-six years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away" (Miller 1713). Willy works his whole life with a stable job, which is suddenly jeopardized. Willy struggles internally with feelings of worthlessness because of his job situation. In his interview with the Paris Review, Miller says Willy believes a man who experiences "failure in society and in business has no right to live" (2035). In her work titled Marxism and the Early Plays of Aurther Miller, Helge Nilsen states, "Human beings are sacrificed to economic interests in ways that are not only immoral, but even criminal in nature" (2038). Society places a huge emphasis on a person's economic status, and Willy begins to struggle with this immensely. Willy falls victim "by the free play of economic forces," and this is a main conflict theme in the play (Nilsen 2039). In Fences, the character Troy also faces conflict with society. His conflicts are not necessarily based on economic problems, but rather on feelings of injustice brought on by the white race. Troy believes the white man is out to destroy the black
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