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A Literary Analysis of the Play Death of a Salesman

4 pages
846 words
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Literature review
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The plays plots and subplots

The play leads the audience to the insights of family conflicts that cause pain among family members. The author simultaneously introduces the concept of the society on a large scale expressing the American values as a nation. He accuses Americans of selling a lie of the famous American dream. He further accuses the society of reinforcing this lie until people believed it and lost their truths and morality. The play expresses the roles of societal organization ranging from division of labor and family that has defined dynamics. The play comprises of 24 hours of a mans painful experiences and turmoil. The man, Lamon, ends up committing suicide when he feels it is too much for him to survive anymore.

A Literary Analysis and interpretation of the theme of change.

The play focuses more on the theme of change although this theme is developed along with other themes like betrayal and the American dream. When the audience meets willy, he is living a life that is largely defined by an affair he had 15 years earlier. He feels like he betrayed Biffs belief in him. And due to his sons (Biff) rejection, he creates an environment of self-rejection. He is unable to deal with other changes as well for instance when Biff walks out on him.

Characters in the Play

The character in his play is Willy Loman who is a salesman and married to Linda. He has two children Happy and Biff, Biff being the elder one. He had an affair with a woman 15 years ago and as the play ends he commits suicide. The audience also encounters Charley, Lomas neighbor and he has a grown-up son named Bernard. Also, Howard Wagner is on the play, and he is Willys boss and Ms. Francis who is Willys mistress.

Use of language

The play uses multiple styles of language including memories, arguments confirmations and dreams. The author uses lengthy exposition pieces that invoke the feeling that there is need to read the program first or else listen carefully to the narrator. Rather, the use of this background information helps create a bias of evaluation and invoke interest form the audience.

Stage set -up and Actions in the Play

Stage direction would need a complete house for the family because it would otherwise be tedious and boring to have the audience watch the play from the kitchen the whole time. Having different characters on stage all the time might sound confusing and distorting. However, the audience would still focus on the play and regard other characters as background until it is their turn to perform a section of the play.

Miller limits the stage of this play to the current time frame. The only time the audience interacts with the past or the future is in talks, arguments, and memories. All action happens at present and the play has a time frame of 24 hours in which he expresses the struggles that Willy has and still is going through. In the end, Miller delivers the audience to the course of suicide and the audience might conceptualize this from Willys perspective to understand why he feels he has to commit suicide.

Use of Imagery,

Miller focuses on creating a virtual scenario using thought dreams and memories. The play itself is a symbol expressing the wider influence and affect the famous American dream has led the American society into. It ironic and an attack on the American dream when willy commits suicide. This is so because in the play it is clear that Willy truly believes in the American dream. He even plans to enhance it by turning his son into a real American whom he hopes will actively live the dream.

The play uses the tone effectively, a sound is used to create a state of a dream for Willy, and he involves the audience in his experience too. The use of music is a powerful tool that Miller uses to control the apprehension of the audience. Characters have their music and Miler uses this to control the audience. For instance, after Miller and Biff reconcile, they agree that he would leave in the morning. However, Millers music is heard the audience is drawn to expectations hoping to confirm that things had not been settled truly.

Protagonist and antagonist are and how the stage directions influence the finding of your theme.

The play brings the theme of losing personal identity and the difficulty that the man has in accepting the changes. The play is told in episodes of memories, confirmation arguments and dreams. Willy is the protagonist since he is present in the play throughout. When he dies, the play ends. Also, his actions, for instance, the affair that he had 15 years earlier is used to develop an important theme like the theme of fear, denial and change. The author uses him as a representation of a failed American dream. The theme of betrayal is far-reaching, and it largely defines the quality of life that Willy lives and even drives his decision to commit suicide.



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