The Requiem Scene in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay

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The Requiem Scene in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

The death of Willy Loman was remembered by few. He was mourned not because of his tragic death but because of his despairing life. The Requiem scene in Death of a Salesman describes the ill-attended funeral of Willy, the tragic hero who struggled to fulfill his vision of the American Dream. This scene brings closure to the play because the audience realizes that only in death is Willy able to accept the failure and false success that has plagued him and his family for years. Resolution is brought to conflicts between Willy and his own disillusionment, Willy and his hopes for his boys, and Willy and the betrayal of his wife, Linda.

Willy rejected a life of
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One of the many false and contrived attitudes contemporary America implants in its citizens is a very fierce pride, in which people cannot accept criticism. Willy Loman took such a pride in his work, claiming himself to be “…vital in New England” (14), and concurrently viewed himself as a failure. Although Willy “…was wonderful with his hands” (138), he saw any profession in carpentry or construction as an inadequate measure of success, although he was aware that he took pleasure in putting up a ceiling or repairing a porch. In the Requiem Charley remarks, “Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.” (138) This brings closure to the idea that had Willy followed his heart, every conflict in the play would have been avoided.

Biff and Happys’ burdens are also alleviated by the death of their father. Biff implies that Willy had mistaken hopes for himself as well as his boys when he remarks that Willy “… had all the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.” (138) Throughout their lives they are constantly haunted by Willy’s nagging and driving ambitions for their all-important success. Sadly, the only obtainable escape from this torment is when Willy dies. Again, the scene provides closure to the constant clash between the differing objectives of father and son. It also provides closure to Biff’s illusions of effortless