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

Why does Arthur Miller use time lapses? What is he trying to say about Willy Loman?

Extracts from this document...


Why does Arthur Miller use time lapses? What is he trying to say about Willy Loman? Arthur Miller wrote "Death of a Salesman" in 1949. For this essay I am planning to explore the structural devices used in the play. Particularly time lapses. The play is set in Willy's house and the various places he visits in New York. "Death of a Salesman" has been described as a modern tragedy and it certainly follows the rules. Willy Loman, the protagonist, is the tragic hero with a fatal flaw; his defect is his supreme pretence and pride. He lives in two different worlds. In the real world he has fallen from grace, another rule vital to tragedies, but in the imaginary world in Willy's head. The place that clings onto every happy memory just won't let him drop. During the 1930's America was suffering from the great depression. There was little food and economy was down the drain. When America finally came out of this recession it had completely changed, large industrialized buildings had sprung up everywhere; it was all about big businesses and commercialism. ...read more.


Willy conjures up these fantasy worlds to escape from reality but also to reassure himself that he is doing the right thing. But his conscience comes in from time to time, to try and bring him back down to earth and usually comes in the voice of Ben. The recollections in the play usually pivot around certain objects or phrases. These objects or phrases are skilful uses of symbolism. The symbols that Arthur Miller uses are often keys that unlock Willy's memory and almost always are milestones on the road to his instability. One particular use of symbolism is Linda's stockings. These evoke anger in him, which is not necessarily at himself but clearly unsettles him. It reminds him of the practically worthless affair and Linda's faithful and undying love for Willy. Another is the tape recorder in Howard's office; this characterizes the growing technology in America in this poignant time of their history. The seeds Willy is seen to be feverishly planting toward the end of the play signifies the constant reminder that Willy can hardly grow anything in his overlooked and shadowy garden. ...read more.


"You are not a great man Willy and neither am I". As I mentioned earlier, these recollections are used for Willy's emotional and mental struggle, but not for just what the character is being perceived as, but also to give a great dramatic effect. It is perfect for performing on the stage and it is a powerful theatrical impression. This is somewhat lost when the play was made into film, you don't have all the memories right there in front of you, in the theatre you get to experience the whole of Willy's mind on one stage and it's amazing. Which is why possibly, Arthur Miller had the previous title of "The Inside of His Head" in mind. Another good use of theatrical effects is the closing scene, the requiem. This is a powerful scene as it is a final strong reminder of Willy's weak character. And how his constant lies and bad upheaval of deception has come to his bitter, wretched end. Which is why I think Arthur Miller chose to write the play this way. To let people leave with this fresh in their mind. To show how one tragic hero is really a pathetic liar when more closely inspected. Kirsty Day 10I ...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. Of death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller says, "…it is really a love story ...

    Willy is a failure to Happy," Walked into a jungle, comes out, ...and he's rich" (p27). There is a significance to the love story and the American Dream with Willy and Happy because Willy advises Happy as a loving father to achieve his goals," The world is an oyster, but don't crack it open on a mattress!"

  2. To what extent do you consider Willy Loman a tragic hero?

    assume it was solely for Biff to receive the insurance and there was no ulterior motive. Willy Loman unquestionably sparks fear and pity within an audience members; we are brought to feel what Willy Loman feels. The play expands its focus and moves from the specific plot toward the fate of man.

  1. "Death of a Salesman" written by Arthur Miller in 1948 attempts to give the ...

    The language presented by the characters however, is by no means invariant. Different characters use different language to expose their personalities, as well as varying it themselves depending on their current inner state of mind. The two most blatant examples of the way characters vary their language are Willy and Linda.

  2. Why does Arthur Miller use time lapses in his play and what is he ...

    Willy knows this, but as Ben is the only person that Willy is prepared to talk to, as he has too much pride to seek help in the real world, he resorts to talking to a fictional imagination of Ben in his head.

  1. Why does Arthur Miller use timelapses in his play "Death of a Salesman"?What was ...

    for him so that Linda can be happy as he knows she has always been loyal to him and made many sacrifices. Willy said "she has waited and she has suffered". This shows how loyal and hard working Linda has been to the family, sacrificing to save money.

  2. Themes, Motifs and Symbols

    Catherine's attempt at womanhood is deciding to marry Rodolpho and follow his rules rather than Eddie's. Community Community is a powerful context for the play; it dictates very specific norms and rules for the family that controls the actions of the characters.

  1. "Attention, attention must be paid to such a man". In which parts of the ...

    In fact the idea of the common man being belittled in this way is able to connect with audiences to a greater extent now, as capitalism and consumerism advance across the globe, than it could fifty years ago. As a "challenge to the American dream" Willy's failure in the so-called

  2. How does Miller use the concept of witchcraft for dramatic effect and to expose ...

    If he is not believed he will be punished for "perverting the court of justice" (that's ironic in itself as the judges aren't seeking justice) and if is seen to be telling the truth then his reputation and status will be demolished and he will be prosecuted for adultery.

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