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"The flashback scenes in 'Death Of A Salesman' are the most useful sections of the play for the director to present Willy Loma

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Introduction

"The flashback scenes in 'Death Of A Salesman' are the most useful sections of the play for the director to present Willy Loman as a tragic hero to the audience." Discuss this statement with reference to some of the key themes and character developments in the play, explaining how a director might present these so-called 'flashbacks'. The central character in Arthur Miller's play 'Death Of A Salesman' is Willy Loman. Willy Loman is an elderly salesman who has lost himself within his false hopes. He is working for a sales firm, which has ceased to pay him his salary, and he is struggling to bring home enough money to support his family in the city. Willy's two sons Biff and Happy are following in his footsteps and are also failures in the business world, however Willy refuses to come to terms with this fact and lives in a web of lies. He wants his sons, especially Biff, to succeed where he has not, even though he himself will not admit the fact that he is not a success due to his sense of false pride. Willy believes that his boys have great potential, and cannot come to terms with the fact that they are not 'big shots' in the corporate world. ...read more.

Middle

Events of Willy's past are set on the same stage at the same time as his current life, meaning that the past is not something that is behind us. This is an important message that is conveyed by Arthur Miller as well as the director of the play. During one of Willy's flashbacks, Ben's remarks, the flute music, and the voice of the Woman can be heard all at the same time. This illustrates Miller's concept that everything exists at the same time - at least within the human mind. However it can also be argued that the flashbacks are useful, but there are scenes during the play that are set in the present that are more useful for the director to convey Willy Loman as a tragic hero. A prime example of this is in the restaurant after Biff has gone to meet Bill Oliver to seek assistance in his quest for a job in the business world to satisfy his father. Willy and Happy are also present, and Biff is trying to emphasise to Willy the fact that he is never going to be a businessman. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the play, Ben encourages Willy to enter the "jungle" finally and retrieve this elusive diamond. By this he means for Willy to kill himself for insurance money in order to make his life meaningful. Which brings me to my conclusion that Willy Loman is in fact a tragic hero. He is not the idealistic, romanticised, Shakespearean view of a tragic hero, but his life and his death are tragic nonetheless. He is a hard workingman, who is too naive to see that his way of life will not lead him to success. To see a man effectively wasting his life and going senile because of it is tragic in itself. His death is not as tragic as his reason for dying. He died for his boys, hoping that the money they receive would set them a strong foundation to build themselves a business empire. The tragedy in this is that he never learned the truth that his sons were never going to be 'big shots'. He was stubborn in life, and just as stubborn in death. The tragedy is summed up by the fact that nobody attends Willy's funeral, despite his claims to have been so well like and respected by his peers and colleagues. Effectively, his life was a lie. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sheroy Zaq 11Q ...read more.

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