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Explain the methods Miller uses to create dramatic tension.

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Introduction

Explain the methods Miller uses to create dramatic tension. Consider * Interactions between characters * Conflicts in Language * Setting * Stage effects, sound effects and lighting. Death of a Salesman is a fantastic example of a continuation of increasing Dramatic Tension. It is created by such methods mentioned in the title and further strengthened by the jumps between past and present. Miller also uses the continuing theme of symbolism to strengthen the tension of the play. The lasting impression is one of slight confusion, but this too aids the suspense as Willy Loman, the focus character of this tension, continues to lose his grip on reality and finally then, his life. Throughout the play the audience are invited to second-guess Willy's next actions or attempt to link his present as a result of past events. The other characters in the play are also equally vital in allowing Miller to create such heightened dramatic tension. Often it is through their silent interactions, such as the complexity of relationships that exist only in thought or feeling. While the audience is aware of these unspoken family rifts, they are rarely exposed and this can create heightened dramatic tension. Linda then, is a character that we learn directly very little about. ...read more.

Middle

A dramatic tension is created then, between the different lifestyles, as Biff and Happy are portrayed as struggling with the inner conflict of conforming to their father's ideals, or obeying their natural desires. The setting is also crucial in conveying dramatic tension. The use of scenery illuminates the attitude of Willy, and the audience is engaged in a sensory experience with the actor. Furthermore, the setting reflects the events taking place and can set the mood and atmosphere that are so important in creating dramatic tension. The house then, is a place of an increasingly dramatic tension. The house is an important part of the setting as it represents Willy's flawed ambition. Details such as the single 'silver athletic trophy' being one of the only furnishings represents the importance of success but also the lack of it due to the bard setting of the home. The kitchen then, shows only 'three chairs' at the table. This may represent the absence of Biff as part of their lives. Dramatic tension is woven throughout, hinting at difficulties surrounding the return of 'the prodigal son' and the lack of selling success that is soon revealed to be haunting Willy. He built the house as a part of his success however; it has become overshadowed by apartment blocks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Symbolism is also used throughout both to create dramatic tension and to link the past and the future. Perhaps the rubber piping creates the highest point of tension. It represents Willy's insecurities and contemplation of death, a prospect that is in itself, an incredibly dramatically tense subject throughout as the audience is constantly left to wonder whether or not Willy will commit suicide. Furthermore, Linda knows of its existence but is reluctant to confront her husband. From the point that Biff decides to remove and keep the piping, we are aware that he now has two strongholds over his father, and tension is evident in his conflict between using this advantage over the now weakened Willy, and the reminder of the awesome respect he used to hold for his Father. In this final scene, Biff finally confronts his father by producing the tubing. Linda is horrified; Biff is angry and confused while Willy is left to defend himself. Such dramatic tension is highly powerful as it plays on the volatile emotional and relational ties found linking the characters. Their interactions then, are charged emotional, created by Miller as part of an incredibly tense sense of drama. Miller combines these methods of creating intense dramatic tension and as a result has produced a highly successful play that continues to capture the audiences rapt attention throughout. ...read more.

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