Analyse Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman addresses loss of identity and a man’s inability to accept change within himself and society. The play is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments, all of which make up the last 24 hours of Willy Loman’s life. The play concludes with Willy’s suicide and subsequent funeral.
Miller uses the Loman family — Willy, Linda, Biff, and Happy — to construct a self-perpetuating cycle of denial, contradiction, and order versus disorder. Willy had an affair over 15 years earlier than the real time within the play, and Miller focuses on the affair and its aftermath to reveal how individuals can be defined by a single event and their subsequent attempts to disguise or eradicate the event. For example, prior to discovering the affair, Willy’s son Biff adored Willy, believed all Willy’s stories, and even subscribed to Willy’s philosophy that anything is possible as long as a person is “well-liked.” The realization that Willy is unfaithful to Linda forces Biff to reevaluate Willy and Willy’s perception of the world. Biff realizes that Willy has created a false image of himself for his family, society, and even for himself. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Willy is not an invincible father or a loyal husband or a fantastically successful salesman like he wants everyone to believe. He is self-centered. He fails to appreciate his wife. And he cannot acknowledge the fact that he is only marginally successful. Hence, Willy fantasizes about lost opportunities for wealth, fame, and notoriety. Even so, it would be incorrect to state that Miller solely criticizes Willy. Instead, Miller demonstrates how one individual can create a self-perpetuating cycle that expands to include other individuals. This is certainly the case within the Loman family. Until the end of the play, Willy effectively blocks the affair out of his memory and commits himself to a life of denial. He cannot remember what happened, so naturally he does not understand why his relationship with Biff has changed. Willy wants Biff’s affection and adoration as before, but instead the two constantly argue. Willy vacillates, sometimes criticizing Biff’s laziness and ineptitude, other times praising his physical abilities and ambition. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Willy’s first spiritual redemption starts with his idol salesman. Throughout the play, it is revealed that Willy has potential of being carpenter as he is talented in it and also enjoys doing it. However, he was inspired by extremely successful salesman called Dave Single man. Because of him, he made a huge mistake of his life, choosing to be a salesman. He gets his American dream from here, which causes him to struggle with problems all the time. Willy’s mistaken job as a salesman does not benefits him very much. In fact he has to borrow money from his successful friend ‘Charley” fifty dollars a week to lie to his family that he is still making some money though he did not. His redemption of being a salesman prevents him from several chance of being more successful than his present job. This constitutes tragedy as Willy fails to accept his failure and create new dream. For example, he disagrees to follow his brother to the jungle, which eventually made his brother rich. Also, when Charley offers Willy a better job under him, he refuses to accept the offer and continues to borrow money from him. This shows how powerful his spiritual redemption regardless of tempting offers or great opportunity. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Since Willy is plagued by an unrealistic American Dream of becoming successful salesman through recognition, he obstructs with many spiritual redemption. When his son Biff was in high school, he used to be very popular among his friends. He was handsome and a high school football star. For Willy, Biff was in a perfect condition of achieving Willy’s American Dream. Thus, Willy was so focused on Biff. Willy, who had yet to fill out his dream, put all his hopes into his son. An example of Willy upholding Biff is when Biff steals a football from his school. Willy thinks it is okay from biff to do that as he think Biff’s coach will generously forgive Biff and praise him for practicing on his own instead. His American dream obstructs his son in this case, Biff learns a bad habit which leads to his own problem later on. Willy’s dream of Biff achieving his American dream starts to fall when Willy gets caught having affair with another woman by Biff. He always respected his father regardless of his condition of living, but he is now filled with betrayal and disappointment. Biff quits his job as a businessman and leaves his family to go work in a farm. This proclaims Biff’s success and release from his father’s redemption. He betrays his father’s dream and finds his own dream of doing what he really wants. Even though Biff forsakes his father’s dream, Willy could not free from his redemption. He keeps his hope until the end, choosing death with a hope of his son’s success. Although Biff here is successful, Willy still fails to overcome his spiritual redemption, which constitutes tragedy as Willy is lead until deadly downfall. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Willy is trapped in many of his spiritual redemption. He struggles to overcome and eventually fails to achieve any of his goals as his spiritual redemption works as an obstacle of many problems. He eventually fails to achieve one thing out of his burst of heroic determination in defeat. In other words, Willy, finally realise that he cannot do or accomplish anything and chooses his destiny to leave his legacy of his dream on Biff. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
When Willy founds hope from his son, Biff, of following his American Dream, he gets defeated by his spiritual redemption and makes a determination. He commits suicides to get his life insurance. In my opinion, Willy has made another mistake because there are always alternative ways of making situation better. For example, he could have simply, accepted his circumstance of failure and try to do new things and creating new dreams. Also, he could have accepted many opportunities such as job offer from his friend, Charley. In addition, his decision of committing suicide failed once again because it is shown in chapter requiem that Biff does not follow his father’s dream but finds his own life instead. We can identify what the title refers to. One is the actual death of Willy the Salesman and the second is the death of his hope of Biff becoming a salesman. Therefore, this refers to another failure of Willy.
On the other hand, Willy’s determination can be seen as success. Although he has failed to achieve any of his own dream, but the positive effect of his death is that it has lead Biff to choose right and realistic dream of his own. Biff pity his father for his choice and all the failure he made, which triggers him to think in other way of his father, to choose to do what he really loves and want. Moreover, Willy’s American Dream has not been quite ended. Happy, Willy’s second son chooses to continue his father’s pathway of becoming successful salesman. He always admired his father and wanted to attention from him as Willy always cared about Biff. This triggers Happy to choose to be salesman and gives opportunity to dead Willy as Happy might be able to achieve his dream though it is unintended to anyone. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.
Life of Willy Loman is full of obstacles and troubles. Willy who believes in recognition as the way of success lives his life as a inappropriate salesman. His spiritual redemptions make him to struggle his life and eventually commits suicide to leave his legacy upon his son Biff. Arthur Miller, the author of this play refers tragic hero as common person. He clearly explains this using Willy as his character, which successfully identify the tragedy of his life. Death of a Salesman as a realistic tragedy.