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

Willy's First Flashback (Death of a Salesman)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WILLY'S FIRST FLASHBACK How do the audience know a flashback is occurring? � Miller tells us in the stage directions: � 'The apartment houses are fading out, and the entire house and surroundings become covered with leaves. Music insinuates itself as the leaves appear.' � It is clear from Miller's depiction of the set design that a softer glow will replace the harsh, threatening 'orange glow' which dominates the stage when the characters are seen in the present. When Willy's memory takes over, this glow is more dream-like with shadowy leaves and music, evoking a happier pastoral era. Remember at the close of the play, however, we see the looming 'hard towers of the apartment buildings' dominating the setting once more. Without Willy's retreats into the past, the dream of a happier, more Edenic life cannot exist in this city. He lives in a claustrophobic urban environment indicative of the harsh life he has chosen. What is the mood in this sequence? Why? � It is happy and bright because Willy is revisiting an auspicious, hopeful past in his mind. He is expounding his philosophy of success through being 'well-liked'. He is recalling a time some 17 years previously when he returned from yet another sales trip. From his perspective, he remembers feeling powerful, positive, optimistic, heroic. ...read more.

Middle

Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. "Willy Loman is here!" That's all they have to know, and I go right through.' � He continues, 'Knocked 'em cold in Providence, slaughtered 'em in Boston. � Then, the audience becomes aware of the reality: � 'They seem to laugh at me...I'm not noticed...I joke too much...I'm fat...I'm very foolish to look at...' � There is a deep poignancy in his very frank confession to Linda when the audience realises that Willy is not completely blind to reality, but there is no sooner a glimpse of it when Willy erects the grand delusion again to assuage his deteriorating mind. Why do you think that Willy is obsessed with being 'well-liked'? � Because behind the veneer of confidence and success he is plagued by insecurity. This is normal for most people, but Willy never allows this to take over. He must find refuge in his ever-increasing self-deception and disillusionment. He never rebukes the mythical promise of the American Dream - however its values have changed - Willy has not changed with them. He provides insight into this at the beginning of the play - 'I don't want change!' � See also notes on being a salesman in Willy's time. ...read more.

Conclusion

How does Miller show that we are back in the present? � 'The leaves are gone. It is night again, and the apartment houses look down from behind.' How do you think Willy's home features as a metaphor for his ambitions? � When Willy and Linda purchased their home, the neighbourhood was quieter than they now find it, surrounded by space and sunlight. At this time Willy was a young man with ambitious hopes for the future, and his house represented a space in which he could expand his dreams. In the present the house is hemmed in on all sides by apartment buildings. Willy is a much older man, and the chances of achieving his dreams are much slimmer. � His home now represents the reduction of his hopes. There is less room to expand, and the sunlight does not even reach his yard. In the past the house was the site of hopeful departure and triumphant return. Willy would set out each week to make a lot of money. When he returned, his sons worshipped and greeted him as he whispered into their eager ears his hopes to open his own business. Now, the house is the site of Willy's frustrated ambitions. As the play opens, Willy returns to his home a defeated man in many ways - defeated by his 'measly existence' as a salesman and defeated by the American dream. The leaves (signifying the past) represent the promise of success, happier, more carefree times. ...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

    Biff Biff is shown to be not very successful, but he has many dreams. Both him and Happy seem to be concerned about what is wrong with Willy, but Biff is shown to know less about him. We are told that Biff was more confident when he was in high school.

  2. Quotes from All My Sons

    to confront his wife so he becomes alienated from his son Chris knows Keller is "no worse than no men. I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father"p168 Cylinder heads cause break with Chris and tragedy "I suspected my father

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

    His empty vow at the end, which says he will ?beat this racket?, is the full embodiment of the lie in which is the American Dream. He has blind ambitions, and is swallowed up by his lies that he is the assistant buyer, when in fact he is just an assistant to the assistant buyer, and is a no body.

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

    Biff realises that he is NOT a salesman and that the Loman family are just ordinary men, "I'm a dime a dozen" (pg 102). Men that could be happy if they were just honest about who they were accepted who they were, and who, if they used their true skills

  1. Death of a Salesman. 'Explore the relationship between Willy and his sons'

    Miller labours the issue of modernity killing humanity, to the point that Willy has tried unsuccessfully in the past to commit suicide by using modern appliances, eventually driving off and to kill himself in the car. Willy has come to a point that he feels he is worth more dead

  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. Death of a Salesman 'Why does Willy Loman's vision of America lead to his ...

    mind as by looking at the scenery on the way to work, it takes away all his problems and Willy loves his job because of this. 'Willy. The grass don't grow anymore, you can't raise a carrot in the back yard.

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

    setting the scene as we witness the bold symbol of Willy?s unfortunate circumstance. Furthermore, the flute symbolises Willy?s faint connection with the natural world, clearly illustrated by the stage directions as he enters Scene 1: ?The flute plays on. He hears but is not aware of it? By not being

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