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

How does Millers handling of time and memory add to our understanding of tragedy within Death of a Salesman?

Extracts from this document...


How does Miller's handling of time and memory add to our understanding of tragedy within 'Death of a Salesman'? Arthur Miller clearly adopted the approach of a classical Greek tragedy by asserting that Willy Loman is 'as appropriate as a subject for tragedy as Kings are'. Miller portrays Willy as a hardworking man struggling to reach the intangible American dream by challenging Aristotelian convention and by using time as a structural motif to successfully portray the lead up to his demise. This ultimately portrays him as a modern tragic hero. The mobile concurrency repeatedly used is of a great importance to the play. They serve as a recollection of his past memories, a dream world offering to escape the harsh reality of what he is facing at the current moment in time. Leah Hadomi, in "Fantasy and Reality: Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a Salesman" said :'When reality becomes too painful, Willy retreats into a dream world, consisting of his recollections of the past and of fantasies in which he ful?lls the aspirations, the attainment of which has eluded him in life". This statement is, to some extent, true as the 'dream sequence' seems perfect, with a repetition of 'We'll' by Willy and Happy, when they discuss 'carrying bags', an ultimate perception of Willy's dream world. ...read more.


The fact that Miller manipulated this to allow these long stage directions be at the start portray how he wanted emphasis the corruption the capitalist society brings onto us, and this is reinforced by Howards inhumane treatment towards him: "You didn't crack up again, did you?". The 'actual time' period is also an important factor. The play was written at around the time of the 1940's, after the 'great boom' in the 1920's had occurred, so Miller must have used the idea of the 'boom' and how the American dream was an endless hope where one would dream of 'possibility and a high social status'. As the Wall Street crash occurred in 1929, we see that perhaps Miller wrote this play to underline the theme that the American dream was always intangible without religion, or some grounding force, yet the Loman family didn't realise this, and this was their hamartia. One may say that because Miller himself was involved in communist activities (Arthur miller: a critical study), he had a Marxist attraction, and perhaps wants to show how Willy was completely destroyed by the capitalist society which was "grappling with a much superior force" (Tragedy and the Common Man). ...read more.


With Linda, we do not see any social life associated with her; all we see is that she is merely Willy's supporter as she always "makes excuses" up for him, and the dishonesty that she knows his flaws lead to his downfall. The fact that Linda leaves Willy responsible (I can't understand it, Willy) shows incapability to guide her, and we see her character disintegrate. We therefore see, as a modern audience, how women are imprisoned, and clearly we could see that the woman was imprisoned in Willy's mind (through mobile concurrency), and Linda being physically imprisoned. Miller again manipulated time to echo a social comment about women being imprisoned, so do we therefore see Linda as a tragic victim, more than Willy in society? To conclude, Miller effectively manipulates time through many ways such as mobile concurrency. Willy's demise was merely his obstructions from the past which stopped him from leading on his delusional present. Miller effectively portrayed how he fell from a mediocre man to a state even lower than that on the hierarchy scale. On a personal level, the cyclical quality Miller presents in the fact that there was no religious grounding shows how nothing can be possible without faith; the cyclical quality reinforced it by using time at the start, and at the end, to see what message Miller was reinforcing. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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

    We are told that Biff really wants to be outside. Willy's attitude about success plays a large part in him feeling unhappy about his job. His and Willy's attitudes towards the sort of job they should do are complete opposites.

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

    However, some characters experience escapism through hallucination and Skin-Lad turned to religion to resolve his despair. Another form of escapism used is taking refuge in the past. Willy constantly encloses himself in past situation, re-living them and even having conversations with characters that are only apparent in his own mentality.

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

    flaw that led him to fail his family and which led to the Death of a Salesman. Willy becomes trapped by his dream working hard all his life to be liked. His 'best' year was 1928, an autobiographical reflection of a man (Miller)

  2. Chris' Character - Father-Son Relationship - All My Sons is considered Miller's most famous ...

    that his father "is no worse than most men, but [he had] thought [his father] to be a better man than most". This shock caused a sever kind of internal conflict inside him between his Idealism and Practicality, to the extend that towards the end of the play he admits

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

    where their mistakes were, such as with Willy who often reminisces that he should have gone with Ben to the mines. Willy is so disillusioned that he will do anything in order to help Biff and Happy to achieve their dreams, which is the main factor in Willy's suicide.

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

    Biff describes his desire to work in the country and be free "We don't belong in this nuthouse of a city! We should be mixing cement on some open plain..." (Page 43 Act 1) whereas Willy's perception of success leads him to believe that he will automatically receive fame and fortune through commercial success.

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

    There?s a big blaze going on all around. I was fired today?. After that he states he needs some good news to go back to Linda with, because he is essentially in disparity, and his life is wrecked. Then everything goes off. Willy says to Biff that he can?t blame him because he is the one who failed math.

  2. Explore the ways in which Miller uses symbolism to emphasise the tragedy in Death ...

    ?aware,? one may consider this ?melody? to be a calling which Willy attempts to mentally suppress. Additionally, Miller introduces his tragic hero with an afflicted perception the moment he is presented to the audience. Structurally, Miller develops this further as Willy gives us an account of his journey home, stating

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