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How does Miller convey a sense of finality in the Requiem?

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Introduction

How does Miller convey a sense of finality in the Requiem? The word "Requiem", meaning a mass for the repose of the souls of the dead, has very formal and funereal connotations. This title immediately gives the passage a sombre atmosphere, and an air of finality as death is the end of Willy's life and the play. Willy's presence is still the predominating force behind the passage even though he is dead, echoing the title "Requiem". The passage is a requiem in two different ways. Charley, Biff and Linda praise the physical and practical side of Willy's character whereas Happy mourns his determination to fulfil his dream. The passage begins with a very emotionless and practical sentence by Charley, when he says "It's getting dark, Linda." The darkness also gives the play a sense of finality, as the play is about to conclude night is about to fall. The black of the dark is symbolic of Willy's tragedy. Happy appears to be angry with his father for having committed suicide, saying "There was no necessity for it," the over complication of using the word "necessity" in this sentence shows Happy's insecurity within himself that he has failed his father. ...read more.

Middle

Miller makes it deliberately ambiguous about whether it is Linda who is free from Willy or whether the freedom actually refers to Willy and Linda being free from the payments on their house. This sense of release and the words "we're free" repeated at the very end of the play are a final conclusion to the tragedy, and give the passage a sense of finality. Happy is excluded from the conclusion to emphasise the fact that he is adopting his father's dream and continuing the tragic cycle. There is therefore no sense of finality for Happy and this is juxtaposed with the closure of Willy and Linda, emphasising the difference between their freedom and Happy's confinement. Biff and Charley are used by Miller as a vessel for his conclusion about Willy in the Requiem. Charley said that the reason why nobody went to Willy's funeral was that "It's a rough world, Linda. They wouldn't blame him." The words "blame him" are repeated from the previous sentence by Linda. This repetition makes Charley's declaration sound insincere, as though he is merely trying to comfort Linda and shelter her from the truth that Willy was not "well liked". ...read more.

Conclusion

Charley can be seen as a choric figure in the Requiem as he airs the audiences feelings and acts as a narrator in explaining Willy's motives for his actions. The Requiem also emphasises the change in direction of the two boys, as their relationship deteriorates Happy as usual refers to his own physique, "I'm not licked that easily," and "I'm gonna beat this racket" he says as though he is physically challenging Biff. It is clear that Biff's character has matured throughout the play in contrast to Happy as he does not respond, merely saying "let's go, Mom". This sentence has an air of finality as though he has given up on Happy. In the final stage directions the flute music is heard again. The sound of the flute highlights the claustrophobia of the apartment blocks and the lack of freedom in the city. Biff follows the music of stage emphasising his longing for an ethereal other world. Miller uses the Requiem to conclude his play and sum up Willy's character while also trying to get a message across to the audience that Willy's plight was not his fault but that of society's, and that the American Dream is not actually suitable for the majority of people. 993 Words ...read more.

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