• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman contains many themes of success and failure.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman contains many themes of success and failure. They include the apartment buildings, the rubber hose, Willy's brother Ben, the tape recorder, and the seeds for the garden. These symbols represent Willy's attempts to be successful and his impending failure. In the start Willy and Linda moved to a home in Brooklyn, as it at the time seemed far removed form the city. Willy was younger and stronger and he believed he had a future full of success. When the script begins Willy is struggling to pay for his home, the city has seemed to grow and has smothered his house and tall apartment buildings "trap" Willy's house. The symbols in the play can show Willy's struggles and an example of this can be the rubber hose, which symbolizes Willy's stability as it shows that he has been attempting to commit suicide and we can see that Biff cares for his father greatly at the point in the play when he takes away the rubber hosing because he does not want to have the thought of always knowing that the hosing could have taken it away to avoid his fathers death. ...read more.

Middle

The tape recorder could show the change in Willy's life through the advancement of technology, and signifies the point at which Willy's career ends. Howard, who is much younger than Willy, finds more interest in the recorder than Willy himself and without any doubt fires Willy. But Willy can also be to blame for him losing his job as Howard had just got the tape recorder signifying change, and Willy cannot accept change and prefers the past, and when Willy is left in Howard's office he messes with the tape recorder and cannot turn it off which shows that Willy has not adapted to the future. The seeds that Willy plants are signs of Willy leaving some form of support behind for his family, and they can also represent Willy wanting Biff to grow into a strong, successful man, but this will never happen, in comparison with the seeds as Willy plants them at night when there is no sunlight and only cold, the hose, tape recorder and the seeds, are all symbolic of Willy's dreams which have gone wrong, and his incapability to live in the present. ...read more.

Conclusion

Happy and Biff are although significant characters in the script are not as symbols in the play, simply represent two sides of Willy's personality throughout the script. Ben, Willy's dead brother who he often talks to in his illusions, is Willy's hero in that Ben is his ideal of financial and personal success; Willy always regrets not taking up Ben's offer to come with him to Alaska and become rich. On the other hand, Ben also leads Willy away from realistic ideals. A significant scene in the play is the garden scene where Willy is "talking" with Ben. Here, they are contemplating whether Willy should commit suicide or not. Willy believes that the insurance money his family will receive from his death will provide for Biff's "magnificent future." This scene with Ben obviously signifies Willy's unstable mentality. Willy's mistress, Miss Frances, directly represents his infidelity. He loves Linda, but is overcome by loneliness and feels the need to be "loved." Arthur Miller brilliantly uses symbolism in Death of a Salesman to enhance the story of the Loman's in relation to their family life, the society in which they live, and to themselves as separate characters. Jack Gahan Examine The Use of Signs and Symbols 9th October in Death of a Salesman ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. Character Analysis - Willy Loman

    This is emphasizes by him saying "I sill feel-kind of temporary about myself." This indicates that he has a lack of confidence. After the flashback he asks about the "diamond watch fob". We are told he pawned it to help Biff with his education.

  2. Death of a salesman - Why did Willy commit suicide? What did his suicide ...

    By the end of Willy and Biff's confrontation, Willy realises he is left alone and the audience hear a car driving away, the result is inevitable. Willy's death is caused by him not being able to let go of Biff as this would remove the myth he has built his whole life around.

  1. Explore the relationship between Linda and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

    He may resent Linda for passing up on such an important opportunity, as this could have made him rich. Also, Linda wants to reconcile father and son, but she attempts this in the context of Willy's false values. She Fails to understand what happens to Willy, and fails to fathom

  2. Death Of A Salesman, Willy Loman analysis

    of mental illness that clearly affects him a great deal and clouds not only his vision but his judgement as well.

  1. Is Biff the True Hero of Death of a Salesman?

    not only leads to the death of Willy, but has consequences on everyone in his family. For Biff he does not work hard at school as his father foretold that to succeed you did not have to work hard, also emphasising on the notion that being 'well liked' could lead to success and true accomplishment in life.

  2. The nature of success in Death of a Salesman

    Here Charley shows that Willy was truly successful, when he was doing what he was good at, which was building things. This shows Charley as a very realistic and decent character as well as a living example of how to make a relative success of one's life.

  1. Compare how Plath and Miller explore the concept of the American Dream in The ...

    He also informs us that Willy has "all the wrong dreams". This idea of becoming a successful businessman is a carbon copy of Willy's dreams, pressed onto Biff. Though Biff, unlike Willy, doesn't procrastinate, everything for Willy is done "in the morning" and this is the main reason why he

  2. In the light of critical opinions discuss Millers exploration of the American Dream in ...

    In contrast Biff wishes to live a simple life like that of the pioneer figure in the American Dream myth. This brings us to ask another question: What can be defined as success in the American Dream? For some it could mean that hard work and endurance results in financial security, acceptance and quality.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work