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Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman is rightly considered one of the greatest American tragedies ever dramatized. Arthur Miller dramatizes the lost dreams and ebbing hopes of the Loman family; Willy, his wife Linda, and their two sons Biff and Happy. Miller breaks the action into three acts. While Act I and Act II are titled as such, the third act is entitled Requiem. I find these division titles extremely appropriate for the play, as a ôRequiemö is the first word of the Introit for the Latin Mass for the Dead. Death of a Salesman is a mass for the dead, but Willy Loman is not the only one who dies. As I watched Willy succumb to dying or long dead illusions, old age, disappointment, and loss of hope, I recognized something else dies along with him in this drama. What also dies in Death of a Salesman is a previous way of life, values, and culture that promised the ôAmerican dreamö but more often delivered debt, disappointment and despair.

Death of a Salesman speaks to me because it speaks to most Americans who struggle to earn a living in a material world that devalues humanity in favor of profitability. When the measure of the man or woman is material, material failure equates to personal failure. At least this is how Willy Loman views the world. His eventual suicide is an attempt to provide his son Biff with insurance money to make a new beginning. WillyÆs guiding thought is that a man like him is worth more dead than alive. Willy comes to this conclusion after a series of hurts and disappointments that Miller beautifully contrasts. In early scenes with Willy, his flashbacks are in stark contrast to later scenes of reality. Watching Willy with his sons when they were young during these flashbacks shows us how close the three were, how much Willy hoped for his sonsÆ futures, and how Willy planted the seeds of failure in Biff by enabling his irresponsible behavior and by rewarding his youthful bravado. For example, we see how t...

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Death of a Salesman. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 01:09, March 26, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1710674.html