Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman’s character can be viewed as a ‘worthless commodity in a capitalist society’ or as ‘a normal male’. Making close reference to the play, examine these 2 analyses and examine what you think Miller was attempting to reveal through his character. The 1949 Arthur Miller play, ‘Death of a Salesperson’ gave birth to Willy Loman, a male consumed with living life to achieve the American Dream unfortunately Willy did not attain the Dream however he might never ever accept that.
As his life went on Willy developed mental health issues which continued to degrade, he kept having flashbacks of times when his life was working and he was a healthy and delighted male. Willy and his wife Linda had two sons; Biff and Delighted, they couldn’t be more different, Happy followed his fathers failed aspirations and prospered nevertheless Biff rebelled versus his dad picking to go his own way. The playwright Arthur Miller was born in 1915 and grew up throughout the American Anxiety which result in many once effective services ending up being bankrupt and America saw a recession.
Death of a Salesperson, Miller’s most well-known work, has many resemblances to his own life and it can be seen that Arthur Miller used his life experiences as a building block for the play. The Miller family lead quite a poor life throughout Arthur’s youth, his daddy supplied the whole earnings through his ladies’s clothes shop which was among the businesses that became insolvent due to the Wall Street Crash. In 1938 Miller was provided his dream job, a scriptwriter for 21st Century Fox, nevertheless Miller turned down the offer.
This is very comparable to the scene where Charley provides Willy a job nevertheless Willy turns it down. For a short time in his life Miller worked as a Salesman which obviously is the main stem of the play. On August 5, 1940 he wed Mary Slattery, the daughter of a Salesman, they then had two children, Jane and Robert. Robert matured to become a director, producer and author, it’s unknown what occupation Jane was in.
This once again links back to the play as only one of Willy’s kid’s remained in the spotlight and enabled to follow his dreams. Throughout his marriage to Mary, Miller had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. This is yet another strong recommendation to the play as Willy had an affair with the female. Arthur Miller has won numerous awards for his works, such as the Pulitzer Reward and the Critics Award both for Death of a Salesman. He has been a popular and iconic figure in American Literature and cinema for over 60 years.
It is clear to see that a lot of Millers concepts for Death of a Salesperson have actually come from his own life experiences, such as his affair with Marilyn Monroe, he wed the daughter of a Salesman and he had 2 kids Miller utilizes the American Dream often in Death of a Salesperson this is particularly clear with Willy who is determined that all must think in the American Dream and tries to press his own beliefs onto his children. The American Dream is, the belief that anyone living in America can attain and fulfill their dreams through effort and commitment. Death of a Salesperson is set in late 1940’s America.
At that time, America was controlled by The second world war. The war pulled America out of the Great Depression finding thousands of jobs for the millions of jobless individuals in America. Women got ‘some’ self-reliance, as the males were at war, Females were left with the men’s jobs. After The Second World War, American ideals altered. The household farm was no longer a suitable. Blacks no longer accepted a lesser status (soon after the war, black individuals of America were provided the right to vote) and more males had a complete college education. By 1949, 8,120,000 million Americans were left completely jobless.
America was in National Financial obligation by around $43 billion. In the 1940s America was extremely centered around the concept of wealth and status which the American Dream was the only way to attain such wealth and status. Throughout the play, Willy can be seen in two methods, among which is that he is a ‘worthless product in a capitalist society’ we discover this when Willy sees that he is worth more dead than he would be worth alive. The other way we see Willy is that he is simply an ‘normal man’, Willy is attempting to accomplish something similar to many people, and also he isn’t best, like everyone else.
In this essay I will be evaluating these 2 interpretations of Willy Loman and likewise examining which analysis I think Miller was attempting to reveal through the character. One way that Willy is portrayed as a regular male is the truth that he has a household who loves and looks after him, “What, darling?” and “Just try to unwind, dear.” This reveals that Linda will always be there for Willy no matter what takes place, throughout the play some dreadful things happen to Willy such as; losing his task, crashing his automobile, mental illness issues however Linda has actually supported him and directed him through it.
Willy is typically viewed as the core provider for the Loman family, his job as a salesman produces the entire household earnings, Linda is the hard working homemaker arranging the kids and Biff and Delighted are the needy children struggling to attend to themselves. The Loman home can be seen as a stereotypical family, utilizing stereotypical family worths and roles. Another way we can see Willy as an ordinary man is that he requires money to pay for home bills and gas for his car, “A hundred and eight, sixty-eight. Since were a little brief again. This reveals that Willy is in the position of most people worldwide, needing to do extra tasks to acquire the amount of money required. Yet another way Willy can be viewed as a normal man is that he is very difficult- working, in his job as a salesperson, “I’m exhausted to the death.” From this quote it’s seen that Willy has been working practically non-stop nevertheless this likewise shows how Willy’s mental health problems emerged, through absence of sleep. Nevertheless in Millers’ Death of a Salesperson play we can see that Willy is also represented as a ‘useless commodity in a capitalist society’.
Willy’s affair with ‘The Female’ is an extremely substantial argument for him being an useless product in a capitalist society. It is obvious that ‘The Female’ is a cold and unemotional individual, it’s clear that she is only in the relationship for herself and that she is stringing Willy along. Willy buys ‘The Woman’ stockings which she doesn’t even require when Linda has to sew her own stockings together because they can not pay for to purchase any. “Just mending my stockings. They’re so costly.” Throughout this scene, ‘The Lady’s’ laughter can be heard faintly.
This shows that ‘The Woman’ is totally uncaring and doesn’t care about anyone but herself. ‘The Female’ also appears selfish, declining to leave the Boston hotel and then asking for more stockings, regardless of the reality she has lots currently. The fact that Willy constantly purchases ‘The Lady’ whatever she desires, and is terrified to state no to her shows his lack of knowledge to the apparent, and reveals he is a weak and heartless man. Another way that we can see Willy as a worthless product is when we compare him to his older brother Ben or to his next door neighbor Charley.
In contrast to these two characters Willy has attained practically nothing. In Willy’s eyes Ben is the embodiment of success, he is Willy’s idol and is whatever he is not, abundant, adventurous, self-confident. “When I was seventeen I strolled into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I left. And by God I was abundant.” This quote however reveals that Ben hasn’t actually worked to become rich and successful. The word jungle is quite considerable in the quote, I believe he is referring to the reality the world resembles a jungle and you must be prepared to fight to conquer the beasts that are out there.
Ben has also proved the American Dream wrong; he hasn’t worked hard yet has actually achieved a lot more that Willy who in fact works himself too hard in some cases. Charley, in some ways can be viewed as a living example of the wealth and success Ben had, this is seen when Willy mistakenly calls Charley, Ben. Charley appreciates Willy and likes him, he for that reason wishes to assist by offering him a job, “You desire a task?” Nevertheless this makes Willy irritated and he throws it back in Charley’s face.
I think he does this because he can’t deal with the truth that he will never be as popular and wealthy as Charley. Also, Willy’s mental health concerns contribute to his portrayal as a worthless product, throughout Death of a Salesman Willy continues to have flashbacks, and the most significant of these was when he envisaged his dead bro Ben, “This is your Uncle Ben, a great male! Inform my boys, Ben!” This reveals that Willy has severe mental health concerns however likewise shows that Willy misses his bro and that Willy admired Ben.
The way in which Wily keeps considering the past reveals that he doesn’t want to mature and fully grown. At the end of the play among the reasons that Willy kills himself is to be with his brother. This is due to the fact that among Willy’s most significant regrets in his life was not going to Alaska with Ben to make his fortune, therefore he believes killing himself will give him some better chance. Last but not least, my most important point of Willy being depicted as ‘a worthless commodity in a capitalist society is him deserving a lot more dead than alive (Act 2, Pages 96-97).
This is my greatest argument for the above, during this section of the play Willy considers dedicating suicide so his children can have twenty thousand dollars. This reveals that America was focused completely around commercialism, giving every man their price. If this were, the capitalist societies such as America have made human beings worthless commodities. The fact that Willy would in fact kill himself to offer wealth makes him an useless commodity. Arthur Miller’s, Death of a Salesman portrays the character of Willy Loman as both an ‘ordinary male’ and a ‘worthless product’.
Throughout various scenes in the play we see a soft, kind family man in Willy, attempting to whatever to support his family, we see him struggling to succeed yet he keeps trying. Isn’t this how life takes place? Male needs to find his feet, which’s what Willy was just trying to do. Yet at other parts of the play, he is seen as a ‘useless commodity’, when compared to many men he can quickly be viewed as an underachieving failure specifically to the characters that surround him, Ben and Charley, have succeeded in life yet never appeared to work exceedingly.
The reality that he focuses his entire life around the American Dream, and follows it word for word despite the fact its been shown to be completely incorrect, Ben didn’t work hard at all, yet accomplished more riches than anybody, this demonstrates how dim witted Willy is, and the audience discover some sympathy with that. His affair with ‘The Female’ was a key representation of an useless commodity, it reveals he has no true love for Linda, and actually illustrates his ignorance.
Although my argument for Willy Loman being a ‘worthless product’ may look more powerful, I don’t think Miller was trying to present him as this or ‘an ordinary male’. I believe he was attempting to depict him as somebody who is neither, somebody who remains in the middle of both of these interpretations. Although he may kill himself simply to supply cash, he does it since he sees it to be an aid for his family. What is ‘a regular male’? Doesn’t everybody have their own viewpoint of what is common, if so how can we class anybody as normal?