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

"Death of a Salesman" written by Arthur Miller in 1948 attempts to give the audience an unusual glimpse into the mind of a Willy Loman

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Essay "Death of a Salesman" written by Arthur Miller in 1948 attempts to give the audience an unusual glimpse into the mind of a Willy Loman, a mercurial 60-year-old salesman, who through his endeavour to be "worth something", finds himself struggling to endure the competitive capitalist world in which he is engulfed. Arthur Miller uses various theatrical techniques to gradually strip the protagonist down one layer at a time, each layer revealing another truth about his distorted past. By doing this, Miller succeeds in finally exposing a reasonable justification for Willy's current state of mind. These techniques are essential to the play, as it is only through this development that Willy can realistically be driven to motives of suicide. The very first section of the first scene, already defines the basis of Willy's character for the rest of the play. The stage directions on page 8 identify him as being an exhausted aging man, whose work seems to be wearing him down. "...lets his burden down..." (pg. 8). Although this makes Willy appear uninteresting, he soon contrasts this characteristic when he shows an optimistic determination towards his own failures. "I'll start out in the morning. Maybe I'll feel better in the morning." (pg. 9) Another aspect of Willy that makes him more interesting to the audience is his already visible complexity of layers: "I have such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts." (pg. 9) This of course leads the audience on to wondering what exactly is taking place in a man's head to make him say such a thing, evoking a mild fascination in Willy's character. Another character that is developed almost immediately within the first two pages of the play is Linda. ...read more.

Middle

This leads the audience to think that Willy been a victimized by his own disillusions. Although lighting itself does not play a large role in conveying the inner minds of the characters, when combined with other techniques such as and already established characters, the use of unusual lighting can create a striking effect. On the very last page of Act 1 (pg. 54) there are two excellent examples of how Miller uses light to influence the audience's perception of the characters. The first "He [Biff] comes downstage into a golden pool of light." This mirrors the mental image Willy has of Biff, in which he idolizes him and sees through his faults. In showing this mental image in such a visual way, sums up Willy's feelings toward Biff in the first act, enabling them to be contrasted to Act 2. The second application of light for the end of the act is "The light on Willy is fading. The gas heater begins to glow through the kitchen wall." The glowing heater symbolizes Willy's current instability as if he is on the verge. The fact that the two lighting changes happen simultaneously however, gives the audience a premonition of his gradual decent to suicide in the next act. This in a way marks the turning point of the play; after presenting the audience with Willy's dreams and aspirations in Act 1, the second act portrays them falling apart. Although, like lighting, music and sound is used to add to an already existing character or feeling, music is also used for a much more important reason; it acts as the transition between Willy's experiences in the past and the present. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "Death of a Salesman" Willy actually relives significant moments of his life in a way more real to him sometimes, than reality itself. Interesting is Miller's choice to show a selection of the imaginary character as real people on stage. "The Woman" and Ben are the only two additional characters that are shown on stage in person, whereas Frank is not shown in person. This sheds light on the significance of the role which Ben and "The Woman" still play in Willy's mind, and also what an impact they had on him in the past. This technique of showing parts of the past intertwined with the present is the most effective method Miller uses to allow the audience to see into Willy. It is only through these revivals of the past, which the audience can understand Willy's thoughts of the present. Arthur Miller attempts to create "realist theatre" using new, non-classical techniques. Throughout the play the audience is confronted with a series of aspects that lead them to believe in the on-stage drama. An example of this is the way in which the characters are represented. They speak in an English that is realistic to its location and time period without using artificial "memorable speech". This conveyance of realism to the audience is vital for Willy's motives to seem plausible, and for Willy to be believed in as a character. On the other hand however, "Death of a Salesman" offers the audience another aspect of the play in which the inner mind of a character is symbolically represented in an expressionistic way on stage. Arthur Miller however succeeds in combining theses seemingly contradictory techniques, by conveying a sense of realism in the way the protagonist's mind is portrayed, creates what sets it aside from anything alike it. ?? ?? ?? ?? 02/05/2007 1 of 6 DOASM - Dramatic Techniques.doc ...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 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 GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Can 'Death of a Salesman' be Described as a Tragedy?

    4 star(s)

    fact he does not show this love back - Linda being a perfect example. From this, we can argue that Death of a Salesman is the tragedy of the ordinary, simple man and not of people of high standing which is the norm.

  2. tension in the death of a salesman

    Biff and Willy argue. Biff was trying to tell Willy the truth- that Oliver didn't recognise him. Willy won't let Biff tell him what was going on. 'Dad, you're not letting me tell you what I wanted to tell you'.

  1. 'Death Of A Salesman' Is About Characters Who Lie To Themselves As Well As ...

    Whilst Willy knows how he is cheating Linda. He also lies to the woman about their love after confronted by Biff. "They're painting her room so I let her take a shower here." Pg.94. This lie gives the effect that makes Willy look dishonest, again another example of how Arthur Miller presents dishonesty within the play.

  2. Willy Loman is in many ways foolish and objectionable, and yet he still commands ...

    This was when both of his children were young. When Biff was young, Willy paid complete attention to Biff, helping him with his football career. Happy however, was trying to be "notice[d]" by Willy. This can make Willy seems foolish, he even encourages and "congratulates" him when Biff steals a "new football" to help his "passing".

  1. Death of a salesman synopsis

    In desperation Willy goes to Charley's office. Charley's son Bernard, now a successful lawyer and a father of two boys, meets Willy in the outer office. Willy congratulates Bernard on his successful career and asks him why Biff has never succeeded.

  2. Death Of A Salesman

    Ben is seen as Willy's conscience. We know this because Willy is the only person who can see Ben and they normally have conversations between each other throughout the play. Miller intends to show Ben is the 'Voice of Reason' of Willy, the side who knows the truth, that he

  1. Death of a Salesman. What do you think makes this conversation between Biff and ...

    when he ?blows him full of hot air.? The audience can really inspect this from afar and sympathise the disconnection between Biff and Linda when there really shouldn?t be harmony. The audience would feel even more moving when all of this facts is caused by the ruthlessness of the capitalist system, led along by the American society.

  2. Explore the way in which Miller makes this a moving and appropriate ending to ...

    Biff signifies that Willy ?had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong?. While it is beyond doubt that Willy?s destination, where he aims to is the wrong way. However it is vague to no one but him. He kept on heading blindly so this is the end of everything.

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