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

Themes in the play Death of a Salesman

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Themes in the play Death of a Salesman Throughout the play the Lomans, especially Willy, cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. This is the major underlying theme throughout the play and is also a source of conflict in the play. Willy cannot see who he and his sons are. He believes that they are great men who have what it takes to be successful and beat the business world. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. In reality, Willy and his sons are not, and cannot, be successful. We can see that this is true because Willy refuses to acknowledge that he is a fine carpenter and continues to persuade himself that he is a good salesman and so continues to live a life of lies, memories and dreams. ...read more.

Middle

He worked hard but not at the right things, this shows us that Willy is ignorant. Originally, Biff shared Willy's illusions of success and greatness, but by the end of the play he has become completely disillusioned. Once Biff comes to fully understand his place in life, he says to Willy, "I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you." Willy, however, has lived too long in his dreams and cannot understand what Biff is trying to say. If Willy had to face reality, he would then be forced to examine the affair he had in Boston, his philosophy, and all of his illusions. Instead, he prefers to live in the past. And now Biff, who is trying to confront the truth about himself, finds that he is completely unable to communicate with his father, unless it is on his terms. ...read more.

Conclusion

Howard, the young boss of Willy's company, represents the impersonal and ruthless nature of capitalist Enterprise. When Willy goes in to ask Howard if he can be transferred to a job in New York, Howard refuses to help him even though Willy has been working for the company for several decades and was good friends with his father. When Willy asks why he cannot be reassigned, Howard replies, "It's a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight," thus demonstrating Howard's cold indifference to Willy's situation and concentration on profit. Inadequacy is another one of the themes in the play. Happy constantly feels that he is inadequate, but only because his father is constantly comparing him to Biff, Willy 'favourite'. So he comes up with stories of how he will get married and that he has lost weight, just so he can get some attention ahead of Biff. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Death of a Salesman 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 GCSE Death of a Salesman essays

  1. Death Of A Salesman - Play Review.

    refuses makes us feel that Willy is almost lazy and seems unfazed by his situation.

  2. Death of a Salesman - plot summary

    You phony little fake!" Biff then run's off weeping, and leaves Willy on the floor on his knees. Willy then tries to use his power to get Biff back "I gave you an order! Biff, come back here or I'll beat you! Come back here!

  1. Death of the Salesman - Discuss the importance of the scene in which Howard ...

    This scene in Howard's office is the scene that we actually see Willy at work and how much he has failed as a salesman as he can't even self himself. Not only does he not sell himself for an office job he also gets fired altogether making a mockery out of his skill as a salesman.

  2. Death of a Salesman - review.

    Biff did not idolise his father anymore and called him a "fake" and a "phoney". Happy is the youngest son he is of low moral character; constantly with another woman, trying to find his way in life, even though he is confident he's on the right track.

  1. The Death Of a Salesman.

    What he really desires is a country life far away from the life of falsity and corruption. A complete contrast to the life that he is leading however, he is too undisciplined to direct his energies in a good career direction.

  2. Death of a Salesman

    that he has been living an illusion and will never amount to anything extraordinary. Willy refuses to listen to him and pretends that Biff has another appointment for the next day. When Biff tries to make Willy face the truth, Willy becomes furious and goes off to the bathroom.

  1. Betrayed or Betrayer? Discuss theses two aspects of Willy Loman's character and comment on ...

    And for the vacuum cleaner there's three and a half...Then the roof, you got twenty-one dollars remaining.' The language use in this play reflects the fast growing consumer society. There are references made to brand names' Chevy' 'Studebaker' and a 'Hastings refrigerator' and advertising slogans such as, 'coffee, meal in it self'.

  2. Failures in Death of a Salesman

    Willy, when measured against Ben was even worse as Ben was rich by the age of twenty one. This again indicates Willy's lost opportunities in life. So Willy is surrounded by great successes in a society where success and money is what is respected.

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