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

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

Extracts from this document...


"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.


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.


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.

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

    What techniques does Arthur Miller use to highlight the conflict between past and present ...

    4 star(s)

    Ben is just in Willy's mind and he is still giving Willy reasons to take his life. There is conflict because a past character is influencing an event taking place in the present. The music shows this conflict and sets the atmosphere, letting the audience know what Willy is about to do.

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    up to something", by 'coming in', Willy means when a man is born and by "going out", Willy means when a man dies. Also, "adding up to something" must mean being rich in Willy's context. This follows the American Dream in that a man makes something of himself from nothing.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Discuss the role and importance of the first "flashback" scene in Death of a ...

    3 star(s)

    When he tells her that he talks too much, she replies "you're just lively". She tells him that he is, to her, "the handsomest man in the world". We are then presented with the Woman from Boston, whom Willy has the affair with.

  2. tension in the death of a salesman

    Willy and Biff had yet another argument. 'Dad, you're never going to see what I am so what's up of arguing.'

  1. Of death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller says, "…it is really a love story ...

    Biff realises that he needs to change himself and looks back on his unfortunate past," I've spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up". Willy is upset because he owes a lot of money and in grief explains the success of Bernard as if

  2. Death of a Salesman

    He believes that by sacrificing himself, this is in the best interest of his family. Willy dies for his dignity, which meets Miller's definition of a tragic hero. However, since Linda 'made the last payment on the house', it is arguable that Willy's death was for no cause and especially

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

    We see how the two time switches collide together, when he says how he will "make [it] up" to Linda, and he can hear the women laughing in the background. Although we know that all of the acts that he has done are all out of foolishness, we can feel

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

    In this case Linda doesn't know anything about the affair and continues to love Willy. This lie makes Linda look innocent and venerable. Whilst Willy knows how he is cheating Linda.

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