This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbolism In Death Of A Salesman

970 words - 4 pages

Symbolism in Death of a SalesmanArthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman is the origin of modern tragedy; indeed, Miller created the genre when he penned the tale of Willy Loman, the sad, struggling average Joe who just cannot make his life succeed. Numerous and clearly defined examples of symbolism helped to make this play a successful and accepted tragedy. These symbols gave the play a depth that allowed it to reach its audiences on a more personal level. Several major examples of this symbolism are the stockings, both those of Willy?s wife and those of his mistress, Alaska/the American West/Africa, and the planting of the seeds in the end of the play. All add to the drama of Miller?s characters and make them human enough for the audience to share their emotion, to see that character?s life in our own lives or the lives of those we know.Examples of symbolism runs through almost every scene of Death of a Salesman. One example that Miller uses often is the stockings which Linda (Willy?s wife) darns and which Willy presents as a gift to Miss Francis, his mistress. They can be seen as a symbol of Willy's career, his self-worth, and a physical representation of his moral character. At home, he has betrayed his wife and son and himself, his life is in crisis, and so the stockings are full of holes. Linda, the loving wife, attempts to mend their life in the same way that she mends holes in the stockings. ?There?s nothing to make up, dear. You?re doing fine, better than-- What?s that? Just mending my stockings. They?re so expensive? I won?t have you mending stockings in my house, now throw them out.? (Willy and Linda 39). Willy is enraged at her mending and orders her to throw the stockings in the garbage. This desire to dispose of the worn-out stockings is symbolic of his desire to be free of problems at home and to enjoy a life of success and harmony. When Biff discovers his father with Miss Francis, he is most angered by the fact that Willy has given her ?Mama's stockings.? Again, the garments represent a bond of integrity and happiness that has been violated.Another ever-present symbol is freedom, wealth, and success, symbolized by Alaska, Africa, and the American west. Alaska is the first to be mentioned. ?Why didn?t I go to Alaska with my brother Ben that time! Ben! That man was a genius, that man was success incarnate? (Willy 41). It represents escape from the commercial way of life to which Willy has chained himself in an effort to be successful. His brother escaped from the drudgery of a life like Willy?s, and managed to find the next important symbol; success. This is represented by Africa, where Willy?s brother traveled after escaping to Alaska. Here, Ben finds...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism In Death Of A Salesman

Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman

768 words - 3 pages Willy Loman is responsible for his own downfall. Willy finds his own hero and tries to become the hero in his own existence. Willy tries to become a very successful businessman, at the start of his career he thinks that no one can tell him what to. Willy is not good with people, he is good with his hands, he is not a good salesman and he chooses the wrong career. Willy often makes up stories or changes the stories he knows because he cannot face

Themes in Death of a Salesman

1229 words - 5 pages A theme is a repeated thought or idea that authors will present their audience with in their literary work. This repeated thought or idea may be deep, difficult to understand or even moralistic. Many authors utilize the characters, plot and other literary devices to assist the readers understand the theme. In "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller, many themes are presented to the readers throughout the play. In Miller's play, the American Dream

Inner Conflict in Death of a Salesman

1443 words - 6 pages Inner Conflict in Death of a Salesman The main conflict in Death of a Salesman deals with the confusion and frustration of Willy Lowman. These feelings are caused by his inability to face the realities of modern society. Willy's most prominent delusion is that success is dependant upon popularity and having personal attractiveness. Willy builds his entire life around this idea and teaches it to his children. When Willy was young, he

The Mistress in Death of a Salesman

619 words - 2 pages The Mistress in Death of a Salesman The mistress, sultry yet sophisticated, played a larger part in the play, Death of A Salesman, than most would imagine. While she does not make an appearance in the play, she does appear in Willy’s remembered time. During his daydreams, she is referred to as “the woman”. The woman in Death of A Salesman never appears in the play, but has a noteworthy presence because she affects the action, theme, and

American Dream in "Death of a Salesman"

5507 words - 22 pages and economic growth. However, people have difficulty in applying this term in real life. The United States has been criticized for failing to live up to the ideals that American Dream requires. However with each character in Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller claims that blind faith in American Dream causes it to lose its real ideals. And Arthur Miller is the one who doesn't criticize the American Dream as an ideology but claims that different

Act II in Death of a Salesman

1907 words - 8 pages Death of a salesman context essay The beginning of act two starts with music “gay and bright”. This has an optimistic feel and sets the mood for the following scene. Music is used by Miller many times to set the mood, the rural flute music that brings Willy home at the start, the optimistic music we see here and then at the end of act two the frenzied music “like an unbearable scream” when Willy kills himself. Music is used to introduce the

Death of a Salesman

1640 words - 7 pages could attain all the hopes and dreams which Willy never had. The irony in this scene is that while Willy is talking to his dead brother Ben, he is planting the seeds. Nature represents life and the symbolism here shows how Willy was giving his seeds a chance, a chance to grow and prosper into fruitful lives where they could live out their fantasies and dreams. To conclude, Arthur Miller proves he is a social critic in Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman

482 words - 2 pages Death of a Salesman From the outset death of a salesman portrays the pitfalls of the American dream. The dream centred on the high chance that anyone can strike it rich in this Land of opportunity. Even in 1950s USA people were still taking a chance on this myth. Death of a Salesman shows the traps of the dream. The failures centred on poor Willy Loman This fine line between making it and become your average Joe becomes heavily apparent

Death Of A Salesman

651 words - 3 pages Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman tells the story of a middle-class, traveling salesman named Willy Loman as he deals with his skewed views of success and pursuit of wealth. He believes that success comes form being well liked, and has instilled these believes in his sons. Both Willy's and society's misplaced values are exposed at his Requiem in which there is nobody in attendance except his immediate family.The decision to call Willy's

Death Of A Salesman

616 words - 2 pages was good enough. In "A Death of a Salesman" Willy explains, "I told you we should've bought a well-advertised machine. Charley bought a general electric and it's twenty years old and it's still good." This clearly shows that Willy is jealous of what Charley has and that he is not satisfied with what he has. There is no way that Willy can achieve the American Dream because he is jealous of what somebody else has.Another thing that Willy is never

Death Of A Salesman

1207 words - 5 pages Megan Pinnock Mrs. Mirenda Eleventh Year English 25 April 2001 The Significance of Plants and Trees in Death of a Salesman When one thinks of trees and plants, one might get the image of something that is growing, tangible, independent, and flourishing. In Death of a Salesman the images of trees and plants symbolizes the life that the character Willy Loman wants to return to.In the play the character Willy Loman is struggling with the fact that

Similar Essays

Symbolism Used In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman. In Particular, The Three Main Uses Of Symbolism Mentioned Include Machines, Diamonds, And Garden Seeds

1052 words - 4 pages In Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman, the shallow ideals of the American Dream are explored and come to a ruinous close. Willy Loman is a salesman who believes that personal attractiveness and likeability will ultimately lead to the dream of financial success. He searches metaphorically for the dream, wandering the open roads as a salesman but he has little idea that hard work is the true foundation of the American Dream. The glittering fa

Capitalism In "Death Of A Salesman"

799 words - 4 pages In the play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, we are shown how capitalism can oppress certain member’s of society and displace wealth. The main character of the story, Willy, is an older man past sixty and a salesman of women’s stockings. Willy is married to a woman named Linda and they have two sons together that are in their thirties. Willy is worried about his son’s because they have not settled in society yet, he worries more so about

Motifs In "Death Of A Salesman"

910 words - 4 pages important because in order to become famous you were required to have a high level of personal attractiveness, something that Willy and his boys sought for strongly. Wealth because of the respect and financial security it held, and women because it was a way of verified superiority over others. This was a powerful motif that perpetually loomed over all characters in Death of a Salesman and especially the Loman's, as I will demonstrate in this essay.The

The Automobile In Death Of A Salesman

1716 words - 7 pages The Automobile in Death of a Salesman        In modern society, most Americans own an automobile. In the wealthier households, a family of four may own as many as three to four automobiles, one for each driver living in the house. However, the automobile has not always been a staple of living in America.  In the 1940s, a family with an automobile was considered well-to-do, as well as wealthy and hard-working.  It is during this time period