Explain What You Consider To Be The Message Of 'death Of A Salesman', Explain How And Why Miller Conveys That Message

1428 words - 6 pages

Explain what you consider to be the message of 'Death of a Salesman', explain how and why Miller conveys that messageMy interpretation of the message within 'Death of a salesman' is that the play makes a mockery of the American Dream, American society and of the capitalist insanity of these times. Also it highlights parts of life and raises issues that are still relevant today such as lack of work, affairs and family life. We receive the message for the most part through Willy Loman and the Loman family; Willy is the epitome of a failed attempt to infiltrate the materialistic and money-orientated ideas of capitalist America in the 1940s.He wants to have the latest gadget or white appliance for his home to display his 'wealth' even if it's all paid for on credit. Willy, by setting his life up to achieving this possession filled lifestyle, realises that after his 35 or so years of being a good salesman he is old, unknown, off salary and now can't afford to keep up with payments on the house, the car or fridge. Like so many other Americans hoping to achieve the same vision of success, after working hard all his life he seems to have failed.To be someone in American society during the 1940s you had to own everything. Your significance in society didn't depend on your honesty, ability to work hard or your decency. Instead it was calculated by your rising bank balance, the size of your house and vitally, the number of expensive things that filled your house. America in the early 1940s was still recovering from the depression and was dominated by the drive to accumulate the money and material wealth that couldn't be found a few years before.The play shows us that this lifestyle can be one of great misfortune. After working constantly to achieve the success society demanded people found they had nothing of any real value, a house on mortgage they might finally clear only to realize nobody ever lives there, a fridge that breaks down constantly and a car that needs repairs every other week. Most people would still be paying the loan for their white appliance after it had broken numerous times. "Once in my life I'd like to own something outright before it's broken! I'm always in a race with the junkyard." Willy is a man who cannot deal with the reality of the modern era.Representing the successful outcome of living the American dream, achieving massive personal wealth and material possession is Willy's brother Ben. "The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he's rich!" This is a stark contrast to Willy's world, a lifetime of hard work and debt and he still hasn't anywhere near the riches of his non-working brother.By looking at the character of Ben we get an impression that Arthur Miller is suggesting that this capitalistic idea of happiness and success is perhaps only for the lucky or already rich. The people who do succeed with this dream are wealthy landowners, large company...

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