Death Of A Salesman Essay

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Drama Review –Theme and Conflict in Death
Danyelle Westphal
Rasmussen College

Author Note This paper is being submitted on August 10, 2014 for Vicki Phillips, G330 American Literature.

The story “Death of a Salesman” was written by Arthur Asher Miller in 1949. Arthur Miller was an American playwright, essayist and prominent figure in twentieth-century. He was born in Harlem, New York City on October 17, 1915 and died in Roxbury, Connecticut on February 10, 2005. He was married three times and divorced twice, his third wife died. He had three children. Arthur received three notable awards in 1949 he received Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1984 Kennedy Center Honors and in 2001 Praemium Imperiale. In “Death of a Salesman” Willy Loman is the protagonist. He is a traveling salesman, who believes in the false promises of the American Dream. Like most middle-class working men, he struggles to provide financial security for his family and dreams about making himself a huge financial success. Willy is haunted by a feeling that his life has been a failure. Willy talked to himself quit often and to his dead brother Ben. When he was talking to Ben they talked about going to Alaska. Ben would tell Willy, “Opportunity is tremendous in Alaska, William. Surprised you’re not up there.”(Norton pg. 256) The American Dream is the antagonist in the story, it is the false promise. Willy is in conflict with society, his family, and himself. In his struggle to compete he comes up short and society beats him down. In the effort to communicate with his son Biff and mold him into a success he has failed. Willy’s conflict with himself destroys him and he ends up killing himself. Willy and Biff have an argument and this is when Willy realizes that he has failed. Biff “I stole myself out of every good job since high school!” Willy “And whose fault is that?” Biff “And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!” (Norton pg. 299) The climax of the story is when Biff said “Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!” Willy “I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!” Biff “I am not a leader of men Willy and neither are you.” After this agreement everyone goes to bed and Willy says up for a little longer talking with this dead brother Ben. Willy realized that his sons were not successful business man and he feels that he failed them. Willy than leaves in his car and kills himself. Throughout the play the Lomans in general cannot distinguish between reality and illusion, particularly Willy. This was a major source of conflict in the play. Willy cannot see who he and his