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By what methods does Arthur Miller make Willy Loman's story so powerful and so moving?

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By what methods does Arthur Miller make Willy Loman's story so powerful and so moving? In Arthur Millers play "Death of a salesman" he tells the story of the frustrated Willy Loman who has spent his whole life striving for a dream which he has not made possible by the end of his never truly fulfilled career. It is a very powerful play as it gives us a direct insight into the complicated and mixed up workings of a tired, confused mind. I am going to look at the techniques Miller uses to do this so effectively. Arthur Miller has created a strong character to portray is tale. Willy Loman is a very ordinary man living out his life. Miller opens us up to his thoughts and actions and brings us into his world, and through this shows us the evils of capitalism and the shallowness of the all American dream, which was so predominantly important in so many people's lives. The point that miller is making is that this perfect image of wealth and professional respect is so unachievable for most people and they will spend their whole lives striving for something that is so unimportant, and torturing themselves over the fact that they have not succeeded. Willy is not a heroic figure who has fallen, or a pitiful soul who has achieved greatness. He is true to life, living out tragedies and successes like every other man. ...read more.


Howard: "look kid I'm busy this morning" Willy: "(grasping Howard's arm) Howard, you've got to let me go to Boston!" Willy is begging this man not to fire him, not to force him to admit to the fact that he is in trouble, that things aren't going, as he would wish. And most importantly to Willy, not showing himself up as a failure to his sons. It is pitiful to see a grown man begging this way and is almost heartbreaking. Willy is so proud in front of his family that he would regress to feeling like a "piece of fruit" in front of this man just to keep up appearances. The fact that Howard calls Willy "kid" is also quite significant as this is very humiliating for Willy as he is older than Howard and has been working for the company longer than he has. Willy often does this, acting differently in front of different people; this is another way in which Miller shows us how confused and insecure a man he is. He is constantly keeping up all these pretences and as the audience we know that the other characters see straight through them, while Willy thinks he has quite successfully fooled everyone and especially himself. Miller makes Willy's conversations with people very strange in a way to make Willy seem completely out of it. He contradicts himself and imagines things, which really shows that he is in his own little world and terribly confused within it. ...read more.


Different parts of the stage light up and characters wander on and off stage, it gives us the feeling that the stage is Willy's mind. Also it makes the play a believable naturalistic one. Miller uses a lot of music to demonstrate the nature of the scene. Music often starts up when Willy is having a flashback or when a moving moment of some sort is about to occur. This gives the scene meaning and also makes it more evocative as the emotion can be sensed through the music. When reading the play you see also that Miller has included very detailed stage directions. The play is never standing still but constantly moving around and this gives the flashbacks and hallucinations more substance, they're not flat like they so easily could have been, or confusing for the audience. I think Miller includes such detailed stage directions because the play could be so easily twisted. If Miller left it up to the director to decide how to play the scenes Willy could come across in a completely different way, which would totally alter the implication of the play. Miller does not want Willy to come across as crazy as he is not. Miller has a very important message to tell in his play and has done it very effectively. Willy Loman and his family are the poor victims of American society who have been suffering because of what their government has set as a national standard. It is a tragic story and Arthur Miller has been extremely successful in making it powerful and touching. Maya de Paula Hanika 11S Mrs Belkin English coursework March 2003 ...read more.

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