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Themes {Arthur} Miller Establishes In The Beginning Of "Death Of A Salesman"

1226 words - 5 pages

The beginning of "The Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller has many themes that he has worked into it. Weather apparent or hidden, some of the important themes are tempers, disappointments, irony and capitalism. Miller's uses his writing as a tool for expressing his political views, mainly on the evils of capitalism. He uses irony in many parts of the drama but some of them seem to be recurring and looks like there is only one or two examples. Miller gives the impression that each character's temperament is a direct factor to the amount of disappointments each character has faced.Miller characterizes his characters well using their tempers and reactions to events to describe them. Willy Loman's temper is one of the most important because he has a short temper and when it is set off Willy tends to initiate dialogues that help to describe the setting of the play among other things. Willy's temper right from the start indicates that he has a great deal of pent up frustration against the world, or rather against his world. The little niche in the great mass of humanity that he has carved out seems to be inexorably shrinking; closing in on him. He's defenseless to stop being swallowed and overcome by it all. He is scared of the faceless corporations that if so desires can nullify his way of life and being responsible for his family, he wants to extricate them from an inevitable tragic end. The need to succeed drives him to keep working even though he is over sixty. That is why he vents his anger at his son Biff who works as a farmhand. It's ironic that he would want Biff in the same line of work as he although he isn't making much money at all and is utterly miserable. "Biff is a lazy bum" he spits at his wife who is trying to calm him. There is another ironic statement. When he returns home he comments on how beautiful the scenery is yet he is never outside but Biff makes his living being in nature and is happy doing it. Willy isn't exactly Casanova towards his wife either. His anger towards her for getting American instead of Swiss cheese is appalling yet the fact that she is laughing at his pettiness plainly shows that his outbursts are routine. She knows that he is temperamental and has rapidly changing moods such as when he walks into the house he seems to be in a daze but as soon as Linda interrupts him, he becomes irritated and brushes her off "I said nothing happened. Didn't you hear me?" Linda's temperament is easy to discern because the stage direction includes a summary of her mood with the words "with infinite patience" when Willy complains about the cheese. She is the perfect example of a stereotypical housewife, calm and understanding when the husband comes home after a hard days work and is in a foul mood. The son Biff seems to have a very calm temper. Instead of raging about how his father always picks on him, Biff is actually puzzled that he seems to be made a mockery of.The mood of the characters seems to ooze disappointment. Willy...

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