Plot, characterization, and dialogue are the elements of drama that I’ve chosen to analyze for Death of a Salesmen. Willy seems to be in conflict with himself and everyone else in his life. Conflict is what drives the plot and will be the main element of drama that’s analyzed in this essay. In Death of a Salesman Willy is the protagonist and his son Biff is the antagonist, he provokes Willy’s anger by not holding a steady job and measuring up to what his father feels he should be. The plot in Death of a Salesman is dialogue driven and the theme of the play is the death of Willy’s career and his inability to become successful in life. He also has hopes of Biff doing something more with his life other than working as a farmhand.
Death of a Salesman is a stage play in the form of tragedy that focuses on the relationship between Willy and his son Biff. The main character is Willy Loman, a sixty-three year old salesman that feels his life is full of failure and missed opportunities to become successful. He often has hallucinations of past happier memories where he reminisces about those times. Willy’s mind seems to be full of illusions and he has
trouble determining what is real and what he’d like to be real. There are times when he talks to himself and has conversations with his deceased brother Ben. During the hallucinations when Willy is talking to Ben it seems that he wants to be like Ben who was rich and successful.
Willy has two sons, Biff and Happy but he seems to focus more on Biff. He seemed angry that Biff didn’t do more with his life. Willy Loman, the aging salesman, is worn out to the point of breakdown by his many years on the road. But he remains a firm believer in capitalist values and has transferred his hope of success to his son Biff. Willy is a dreamer, and the play contrasts his dreams with the harsh realities of failure and mediocrity that he tries to shut out of his mind. Corrupted or brainwashed by the system, Willy is blind to its destructiveness and is obsessed by his plans for Biff. Biff, however, has begun to rebel against his father’s ideas and to feel his way towards different standards, meaning those that Miller associates with the socialist society. Unlike his brother Happy, he has “allowed himself to turn his face toward defeat” (Charters and Charters 1692).
When Biff was younger it seems as though he and Willy were close. During one of Willy’s hallucinations from the past when Biff and Happy were kids, Biff says to Willy, “Where’d you go this time, Dad? Gee we were lonesome for you. Missed you every minute. Gee, I’d love to go with you sometime, Dad.” (Miller 30-31)
This shows happier times between Willy and Biff. Throughout the play there seems to be resentment on Biff’s end. The reason for this isn’t revealed until later on in
the play. When Willy goes to pay his neighbor and only friend Charley a visit it is revealed why Biff feels the way he does for his...