How can two people watch or read the same story and yet, interpret it completely differently? Does it have to do with the author’s intentions, or maybe it has to do with the viewers’ own backgrounds and ideologies? Whatever the case may be, viewing one piece of work can lead to a wide array of opinions and critiques. It is through the diversity of such lenses that Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller has become one of the most well-known plays in modern history. There are many different ways in which a play can be criticized, however, criticisms from the approaches of a Marxist and reader-response will be utilized to further dissect Death of a Salesman. Marxist criticism sees pieces of works as a struggle between different socioeconomic classes; what better way to see Miller’s play than for what it is at face value, the struggle of a middle-class man trying to achieve the American dream (1750). On the other hand, a reader-response criticism comes from either an objective or subjective view; in this case Death of a Salesman will be viewed with a subjective lens based on Willy’s deteriorating mental health (1746).
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 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.
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
The play, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, takes issue with those in America who place too much stress upon material gain, at the expense of other, more admirable human values. Miller uses flashbacks to provide exposition, to foreshadow the upcoming tragedy, and most importantly to reveal character traits. An analysis of the main character, Willy Loman, illustrates the underlying theme that the concern over material success breaks down the bonds between men that form the basis of a smooth-functioning society.
“Death of a Salesman “ by Arthur Miller is interpreted differently by many people. In the critical review titled “Family Values in Death of a Salesman” by Steve R. Centola, he characterizes Death of the Salesman as am a modern tragedy. He draws more focus on the family core values and self-exert. In his analysis, he states that as the humans try to be competitive, they have dehumanized the American dream and have turned it into an urban nightmare. He claims that the author simply tells a story of a dying man who wants to justify the purpose of his life before he meets his death. He states that the consequences of his choices are a challenge he has to overcome to attain what he needs. Centola points out that through the realization of what Willy Loman values, it is easy to discover the reason for the conflict between him and Biff. He refers to Death of a Salesman as a tragedy of a human struggle that is rooted in the metaphysical and also based on the social and psychological concerns. He also asserts that by discussing the values of Willy Loman, readers will be able to identify the reasons behind Willy’s agenda to perform suicide.
The story ‘Death of a Salesman’ written by Miller focuses on a man doing all he can to allow him and his family to live the American dream. Throughout the story it is shown how the Loman’s struggle with finding happiness and also with becoming successful. Throughout their entire lives many problems come their way resulting in a devastating death caused by foolishness and the drive to be successful. Ever since he and his wife, Linda, met she has been living a sad and miserable life, because she has been trying support his unachievable goals. Also by him being naïve put his children’s lives in jeopardy and also made them lose sight of who they really were. Miller uses the Loman family to show how feeling the need to appear a certain way to the public and trying to live a life that is not really yours can turn into an American nightmare.
In his play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses “the common man as a fit subject for tragedy in the highest sense” (Lawrence, Trudeau and Ross Vol. 1) and failure in the accomplishment of the American. The play tends to recline more in the direction of masculinity where men’s sole role is to get a job and support the family and the woman be seen and ordered which brings out the idea of traditional gender roles at its best. Though this is the case, it is very evident that women played an important role in this play. Although every character in the served and had a main purpose, women served a major role not only as subjects of submission and satisfaction who helped define who the men really were in the 1940’s but also as elements of support and wisdom.
Willy Loman, the central character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, is a man whose fall from the top of the capitalistic totem pole results in a resounding crash, both literally and metaphorically. As a man immersed in the memories of the past and controlled by his fears of the future, Willy Loman views himself as a victim of bad luck, bearing little blame for his interminable pitfalls. However, it was not an ill-fated destiny that drove Willy to devastate his own life as well as the lives of those he loved; it was his distorted set of values.
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
Death of a Salesman unwinds post-war America. After the war, prosperity has increased. The 1950s, were still a time where men not only provided for their families, but to also supplied the luxuries that came along with working class men. Willy Loman bought into the idea of being glorified and worshipped. He lived for the positive preservation of his family name. Willy Loman’s downfall was trying to be “The Man” and not “A Man”.
"After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive," (Miller, 98). This quote was spoken by the main character of the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman: Willy Loman. This tragedy takes place in Connecticut during the late 1940s. It is the story of a salesman, Willy Loman, and his family’s struggles with the American Dream, betrayal, and abandonment. Willy Loman is a failing salesman recently demoted to commission and unable to pay his bills. He is married to a woman by the name of Linda and has two sons, Biff and Happy. Throughout this play Willy is plagued incessantly with his and his son’s inability to succeed in life. Willy believes that any “well-liked” and “personally attractive
Arthur Miller begins his play with an excellent description of the setting of the play. This makes it easy for the reader to imagine themselves actually watching the play and causes the reader to be able to better relate to the play. Because Death of a Salesman can be considered an emotional play, it qualifies as being a timeless work of literature, especially because it has the ability to touch the human heart. Willy Loman is a salesman, who lives in New York City with his wife Linda. From the beginning of the play, Miller makes it obvious that Willy struggles with many obstacles, such as anger and even confusion since there are many times throughout the play where Willy becomes severely confused. Many characters throughout the play,
"I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money; his name was never in the paper; he's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid ... Attention, attention, must be finally paid to such a person." from Death of a Salesman
Throughout Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Willy Lowman sought to attain the American Dream, but his distorted view of Marxist control ultimately provoked his physical, material, and mental destruction. Lowman, a middle-class salesman, husband, and father of two shared the ideology of many American’s, an ideology that hard work, dedication, and likeability was attainable regardless of social class, or life circumstances. Yet, the multiple distortions Willy associated with this dream combined with regressed emotions eventually led to his demise. It is easy for one to assume that mental illness is simply a disease, but the debate surrounding its correlation to social status and the unattainability of goals has never been so vividly