In Death of a Salesman, Miller brings about social and existential questioning through the unlikely motif of commerce. The profession of a salesman is one that is intrinsically connected to a consumerist economy. If one bears in mind that the play was written only a few decades after the Great Depression in 1949, it would perhaps be apt to equate Willy’s professional failure with the play’s implicit criticism of America’s relentless pursuit of material prosperity. However, the most important aspect of Willy’s profession is the suggestion that lingers throughout the play – that Willy barters not merely goods but also his soul. In the essay “Success, Law, and the Law of Success: Re-evaluating Death of a Salesman’s Treatment of the American Dream,” Galia Benziman writes, “Through the representation of this salesman’s emotional collapse, the drama voices the playwright's resentment against the damaging and demeaning power of the American ethos of consumption and private economic success on the individuals who uphold and nourish it”. Therefore, in his ceaseless and futile pursuit for success and happiness, Willy Loman loses more than his job; he also loses his individuality and his integrity, and herein lies the play’s depiction of the tragic....
In the essay “Success, Law, and the Law of Success: Re-evaluating Death of a Salesman’s Treatment of the American Dream,” Galia Benziman writes, “Through the representation of this salesman’s emotional collapse, the drama voices the playwright's resentment against the damaging and demeaning power of the American ethos of consumption and private economic success on the individuals who uphold and nourish it” (Benziman). Therefore, in his ceaseless and futile pursuit for success and happiness, Willy Loman loses more than his job; he also loses his individuality and his integrity, and herein lies the play’s depiction of the tragic. At numerous points in the play it is made clear that Willy’s wife and sons perceive his life and subsequent suicide to be replete with pathos. However, it is made amply clear that despite Willy’s ideas about the great achievements of salesmanship, his dream of success is deeply flawed and shall never be realized. Significantly, this sense of impending failure is felt most acutely by Willy. This self-reflexivity is seen in his confession to his imagined image of Ben: “I still feel-kind of temporary about myself” (Miller). This realisation, however, does not deter him from continuing to search for success as he pitifully asks Bernard to help him understand the “secret” of success. This image of temporariness or incompleteness is perhaps the work’s commentary on the American zeitgeist as envisioned by the idea of the American Dream. America, imagined by the early settlers as the New World, was a country in the making, unlike its European counterparts. However, unlike Willy Loman whose feeling ...
Cite this document
(“A study of Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman as a modern tragedy Research Paper”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.net/literature/69465-a-study-of-arthur-millers-death-of-a-salesman-as-a-modern-tragedy
(A Study of Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman As a Modern Tragedy Research Paper)
“A Study of Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman As a Modern Tragedy Research Paper”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/literature/69465-a-study-of-arthur-millers-death-of-a-salesman-as-a-modern-tragedy.
The concept of American Dream is seated in the “United States Declaration of Independence” which proclaims that “all men are equal”. It also believes that every human being irrespective of their social class or circumstances pertaining to their birth are “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights” which includes “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” (Kamp, “Rethinking the American Dream”).
The most resounding theme of the play is the impossibility of the American Dream, at least on Willy Loman’s part. The play is largely character-based, and this character is Willy Loman. Willy Loman is practically a loser. His name even implies it: Willy as in “Will he?
In search for wealth and success, the society seemed to adapt to modern ways at the time due to the changing economic and business environment. Capitalism as a social economic system has been expressed in the story to have been a key determinant in the life of the main character, Willy Loman, and his family’s failure.
Greed and envy rule the society today and have taken over the concepts of justice and fairness. The society adores the achievers, no matter what the process of achieving is—the non-achiever, the one who suffers losses, is being destroyed by the inner conviction of uselessness.
less of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position” (Smith, 27). While reading through Miller’s Death of a Salesman, one can certainly identify the central character Willy Loman and his son Biff exactly following this concept and taste the bitter side of life where one loses his own life and the other his father.
Consequently it is observed that although “Oedipus Rex” and “Death of a Salesman” have centuries between the time the two plays were written. Yet interestingly the projection of the tragic heroes in both the works provide an excellent basis for a comparative analysis regardless of the difference of the time in which the respective plays were written, their plots and settings.
(Name) (Tutor’s Name) (Date) ‘Death of a Salesman’: A Research Essay Arthur Miller’s death of a Salesman’ is a renowned play of the modern times set in the backdrop of a generation chasing the ‘great American dream’. The piece of art inspires people to accept the reality that they can achieve their ambitions in life only through hard work.
Arthur Miller’s Play “Death of a Salesman” as an Analysis of Abandonment and Loss Although there is an unbelievably high number of individual themes with which to examine in Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman”, one would be remiss if they did not consider the strong autobiographical overtones that pervade the work; especially those that pertain to loss and/or abandonment.
It will only be the manner of his death that will be expected and disclosed.
For a reader/audience, it would not be an exciting and attractive fiction if it is already known that the protagonist dies at the end of the story. The manner of his death and the motive for his death are not usually as inviting as having a victorious and adventurous major character.