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

Explore the theme of Dreams and Escapism within Death of a Salesman and Road

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Hollie Selby Explore the theme of Dreams and Escapism within Death of a Salesman and Road. Death of a Salesman was written in 1949 in New York, right on the brink of a consumerist explosion. The American Dream that people had spent his life in pursuit of was suddenly altered and became highly materialistic. This left people, such as the character of Willy Loman, questioning their life and feeling secluded from this new wave of materialistic dream and the abandonment of self sufficiency. Along with this, other plays such as Cartwright's Road was written and set in eighties Britain, in a northern Lancashire town. This was a time of high unemployment, particularly in the North, under Thatcher's conservative power. The working class were hit hard and many declined into poverty, any dreams at this point would appear hopeless faced with recession and a government that showed no remorse to the characters depicted in Road. Both were faced with times of dramatic change that both sets of characters could not adjust to cope with, which is where escapism is used. ...read more.

Middle

The positioning of scenes such as these let the imagined characters break all boundaries by entering or leaving rooms through "walls". This further represents the fragile psychological state of Willy and how his mind has no restrictions and is unable to differentiate reality from creations of his own mind. Willy constantly refers to the past as more desirable, the first time Willy is seen lapsing off into the past is when he encounters Biff after arriving home. The conversation between Willy and Linda reflects Willy's disappointment in Biff and what he has become. After failing to deal adequately with his feelings, he escapes into a time when things were better for his family. The fact he is more engrossed with memories than the present day, shows his willingness to escape to the past; where his life was once idyllic, and his lack of compassion to stay in reality. This type of escapism can also be identified within Road, particularly in Jerry's monologue where the opening line states "I can't get over it. ...read more.

Conclusion

The end of Road depicts a group of characters chanting together "Somehow a somehow a somehow - Might escape". This is an unrealistic technique used to restore the hope and dreams that had been diminished throughout the entirety of the play. It also re-assures the audience that there might be someway out of this squalid existence that has been portrayed, and that even after everything, there is underlying hope. However, in complete contrast to this Death of a Salesman's closing scenes portrays Willy's funeral. His constant dream-like existence is finally exposed to show Willy for who he really was. The reality is enforced and everything dream-related has died with Willy, leaving the harsh truth. In both plays, dreams and escapism are used thoroughly to uplift the tragic reality of the era in which the plays are set. Although, different strategies in both are used to cope with harsh realities they both provide a form of escapism for the characters and audience alike. Whether this is the humour, drink, sex and drugs present in Road or the constant reliance on the past and denial of present reality featured 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

    He never mentioned what happened in Alaska. All we are told is that "when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty one I walked out.

  2. How does Millers handling of time and memory add to our understanding of tragedy ...

    women were treated as sexual objectification, also known as the 'Madonna Syndrome'. The repetition of the 'woman laughing' throughout the play emphasises the fragmented state of mind Willy has and the 'guilt' he has, associated with the woman.

  1. Biff (of his father): He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Discuss Biff's ...

    However Biff's assessment manages to be the only one that truly realises this of Willy; perhaps because Willy's deceitfulness was exposed to Biff through the discovery of his affair. Willy's final dream, the motivation of his suicide, is his desire to leave his family a lasting legacy, which may be

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

    Plath often uses the happiness dream in conjunction with the academic and material dreams to contrast with each other and to explore what the American Dream is and how to achieve it. We see this when Esther "fed" her clothes into the "night wind" which is Plath showing the reader

  1. An Analysis of the Dramatic Impact of the Restaurant Scene in Death of a ...

    The fact that he is always in unrealistic dreams. So generally, it can be interpreted in different ways. One interesting point I would like to make is that Willy has this tendency to mythologize figures. In the play he has a very important quote, ? And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want.

  2. How are issues of personal dignity dramatically portrayed in Death of a Salesman?

    As mentioned above in the definition of dignity, Willy doesn't have a high position, and therefore cannot have dignity from his job? Aristotle said that "dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them." Could it be that Willy is so obsessive over his dignity because he knows he doesn't deserve it?

  1. Willy's First Flashback (Death of a Salesman)

    Both boys treat women as objects, and with blatant disrespect, as does Willy. � At least Biff has gained some self-awareness in the present, whereas Willy and Happy continue to fuel their own disillusionment. How might this flashback affect what you think of Biff and Happy in the present?

  2. Death of a Salesman

    He believed that being liked is everything, therefore teaching his two sons, Biff and Happy, to have personality as a number one aspect in life. Yet, the American dream does not require this - all that is required is

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