Menagerie And Salesman Essay

1165 words - 5 pages

“The characters of Menagerie and Salesman are caught in a temporal and spatial void” (Bigsby Critical Introduction 2, 45). Both playwrights depict the characters’ inability to relate to the reality of their present environment. They try to escape into illusionary realities in order to free themselves from their harsh and frustrated existence. The dreamy world is simply the shelter that provides temporary security to almost every character of the plays. However, the hopes that hang up there eventually clap. Tom’s refusal to deal with reality makes him to abandon his mother and sister. He escapes from the reality by going to the movies, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes, but none of these can fully satisfy his need of freedom. Even the final departure from his family can’t provide the freedom that Tom imagined. He finally realizes that no matter how much physical distance he maintains, his memories will always with him. Tom’s love for his sister and mother is greater than the feeling of freedom that he thought he needed. Similarly, Amanda, as a result of the frustrated circumstances, escapes into the past that comforts her from the harsh realities of her present situation. By recalling her youth, Amanda escapes into perfect happiness and blissful innocence where she feels safe and comfortable. However, none of her escapism can prevent the inevitable: Laura’s incapability, both physically and emotionally, of caring for herself and Tom’s egger of leaving the family. In the case of The Willy Loman family, pursuing the American dream leads Willy fails to realize that he has placed the highest value on what is no more than an illusion. He tries to obtain the superficial vision of the American dream. Trying to archive the unattainable American Dream led Willy unable to accept the disparity between the illusionary dream and his own life; eventually cause Willy’s rapid psychological decline.
By ignoring the present, Willy and Amanda try to achieve the unattainable and fail to deal with reality. They all have the tendency of living in the past and thinking of the future. Willy does not emphasize on what he is selling, instead, He believes that being well-liked and personally attractive will put him ahead in the business world. Perhaps he is not selling anything but himself. Willy develops a habit of distorting the past memory to something acceptable to him. At one time, when Willy goes off down memory lane, he "says" to Biff and Happy, “Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. ‘Willy Loman is here!’ That’s all they have to know, and I go through” and "America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys…the finest people…there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ‘cause one thing boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street…and the cops protect it like their own" (31). Willy makes this distortion of the past in order to make himself believe that...

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