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Motif in Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is a drama of lies and delusions, most of them held by the protagonist, Willy Loman, a washed up salesman who maintains the illusion he is still skilled and in demand. Throughout the course of the drama, a number of thefts occur by Willy's sons, a series of actions that Willy justifies and encourages. Garaventa (537) maintains that Willy is "portrayed as a complex individual, whose reactions are a function of his personality and self-interest." The motif of theft in the drama is important because Willy creates a dishonest vision of those acts that not only encourages deviant behavior in his sons but also makes him and they convinced that their lies about these acts are the truth.

There are a number of incidents in Death of a Salesman where the motif of theft intrudes on the course of action. One of these occurs when Biff steals a football from the high school locker room because the coach makes him angry by telling him he needs to practice his passing. Willy does ask Biff to return the football but acknowledges that the c


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Motif in Death of a Salesman. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:25, August 02, 2015, from