Death of a Salesman Essay

Submitted By nathand123
Words: 1107
Pages: 5

Elements that make a play Successful Death of a Salesman is arguably one of the most successful playwrights to date. Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play as well as many other awards (Wikipedia). The play was written in 1949, in postwar time economy, demonstrating the hardships and struggles of a middle class family. What makes this play so successful is Millers use of dramatic element such as plot and characterization, as well as dramatic action and tone, which help his audience establish a strong connection to his play. The play Death of a Salesman takes place in the early twentieth century in New York City with some brief parts in Boston. Throughout the play it seems that the economy is in hardship. Good jobs were few and hard to find. Arthur Miller’s play is a collection of memories and flashbacks displayed in a montage from the life of salesman Willy Loman. As each memory unfolds it is apparent that Willy Loman has made poor choices in life and has had difficulty accepting them as well as as finding a strong identity for himself. This is reflected onto his wife Linda and sons Biff and Happy. Willy’s professional life is is also greatly affected. Willy has a tough time with change and it comes across when he continually fabricates reality to his family and one friend. Following Willy Loman throughout the play it is evident that he in present time, suffers from some type of metal illness as he jumps from present day to flash backs, memories and dreams along with having conversations with his brother who is not really there. Willy Loman is the main character protagonist, but each character has highly distinguishable qualities that the audience can associate with. All the characters are connected to Willy and their actions reflect to Willy’s interactions. His life engulfs roughly the entire performance. He is the salesman and driven by desires of wealth, success and respect from his family and peers. Willy yearns for attention and respect bu never earns it. Much like his attitude the play revolves around him. He has one friend and a poor relationship with his wife and two sons. Linda is the sad wife, mother and woman living in anguish and fear, which she chooses never to get away from. She is a good companion and dedicated wife undeservingly to Willy, and a mediocre mom at best. Linda is aware her husband is depressed and suicidal but allows herself to stay in a constant state of denial to cope. Biff is the oldest son and golden child to Willy. He is the spark that ignites Willy’s excitement for life. The majority of Willy’s flashbacks and memories are of Biff. Enthusiastic about his son, Willy says, “Everybody wave when Biff comes out on the field” (Miller 1439) in one of his flashbacks to Biff in high school. Young Biff respects and adores his father until this image is horribly crushed and destroyed when Biff finds out about Willy’s affair. Biff goes form idealizing his father to despising him. All of which dramatically changes Willy and Biffs lives. Happy is the younger version of his father, yet he lives in the shadow of his older brother. Happy, like Willy, lives in a constant state of fabricated illusions. He always tends to make something out of nothing and in doing so exaggerates the reality of what his life is really like. Happy is always looking for his fathers approval and sadly no matter how much he lies, never can live up to be equal to Biff in his father’s eyes. Happy becomes a complete womanizer, a true mirrored image of Willy. Miller definitely made his characters relatable to people. These brilliant characters have relatable properties that allow the audience to compare their own troubles in life because of the overwhelming feelings felt throughout the play. Miller uses his characters to display strong life changes like emotions, controversy, depression, regret and failure. furthermore these characteristics can correlate to every type of audience and it is easy