The Role Of The Common Man's Language In "Death Of A Salesman"

2243 words - 9 pages

Introduction:The potency of words in the creation of character is subtle. We can just let the characters talk; it is the best way to get to know them. According to Gunter Proposition:"A Person's Speech tells us much about his character in both senses: announces his part in the human comedy and it foretells what kind of player he will be; artful, malicious, solid or whimsical. When someone speaks, he tells us who he is and what he is like."This study aims to reveal the characters' personalities in "Death Of A salesman" through their speech.* Miller's successful usage of language to delineate his characters:"Death Of A salesman" relies mainly on dialogue. Miller has used the language of the common man with great success. If we are to have a tragedy of the common man, it seems that we should logically have the language of the common man. However, Miller's practice has not always gained the favor of critics. George Jean Nathan disagrees with Miller's contention; he says:"The fall of kings calls for a splendor of prose or poetry, otherwise it may be quite as unimpressive as the fall of little men. But for the tragedy of the little man to be as impressive as that of a king calls as well for such treatment. Commonplace language, though it may be exactly suited to the tragedy of the underdog, may make for the first rate theatre but scarcely for first rate overwhelming drama."On the other hand, Steiner supports Miller's contention: "Common men are prosaic. Revolutions write their manifestations in prose. Kings answer in verse." And in fact, Ibsen and Chekhov have shown that prose and economy of realism can create theatrical conventions as rich as those of verse tragedy. As Evan remarks:"What Miller wished to avoid was, simply, artificial and literary speech. He deliberately used a language completely devoid of anything but the most banal expression."Leonard Moss confirms Miller's skillful use of the common man's language. He also hails "Death Of A Salesman" as technical masterpiece. He sees the language of the play as effective dialogue as far as character delineation is concerned.Literally speaking, the fact that such a play could not but have a social basis determines Miller's choice of the overwhelming true-to-life dialogue of the play - actually the only dialogue capable of giving an adequate dimension of Willy's humdrum existence in contrast with the loftiness of his aspirations and ideals.Thus, Miller has put into the mouths of his characters realistic speech to delineate their dilemma. In the stage-directions, the language is sophisticated literary speech. And from the outset, Miller intends to reveal a man's innermost thoughts.* Stylistic strategies used by Arthur Miller to create his characters:Miller creates in this play language that drives the message of the play home to the audience. Thus, he has used relatively simple stylistic strategies to show the discrepancies between his humdrum life on the one hand and his superlative dreamy nature on...

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