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Why does Arthur Miller use timelapses in his play "Death of a Salesman"?What was the playwright trying to tell us aboutWilly Loman?

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Introduction

Why does Arthur Miller use time lapses in his play "Death of a Salesman"? What was the playwright trying to tell us about Willy Loman? In this essay I will be exploring and analysing "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. I will be looking the use of flash backs in the play that aim to emphasise that the past is always with us. Looking at the flashbacks will also help understand the character of Willy Loman. The action takes place in Willy Loman's house and yard also in various places he visits in New York and Boston of 1949. The play was set in post war America. This is after the great Depression, when people had a different point of view and wanted to achieve the "American Dream". The American Dream is the longings of people who wanted to develop the country, to amass money and enjoy a comfortable, not to be at the beck and call of the employer. The figure of a salesman was at the cutting edge of the American Dream, a self made person that did not sell his products but his personality. The play shows a series of chronological events which take place during one evening and the next day. At intervals throughout the play we see scenes from Willy's past enacted on the same stage at the same time. ...read more.

Middle

This time lapse affects the lives of Willy, Biff and the family from this moment ; Biff loses all the hopes and dreams he had, he does not go to summer school or, get the grades to go into college. "His life ended after the Ebbets Field game. From the age of seventeen nothing good ever happened to him." said Willy to Bernard. He becomes a complete failure. Willy starts to believe that Biff will hate him and possibly tell Linda about the affair. This is why he has treated Biff with more care and time rather than Happy. Happy on the other hand feels neglected and seeks attention. "I'm losing weight, you notice, Pop?" and repeats this later. "I'm gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you." Every time Happy tries to get attention he is simply ignored, time after time. The reply he got when he said I'm getting married was "Go to sleep, dear." The fallout of this scene affects all the family apart from Linda. An important symbol was used in this scene, the new stockings Willy gave to the Woman, where as for ever on Linda is mending her old ones. The time lapse was used to show why Biff's and Willy's relationship was such a love hate one. It shows why Biff's life was ruined after his trip to Boston, and why Willy never talked about it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Arthur Miller uses flashbacks as a tool throughout the play to highlight the present. In this instance what is happening to Willy after being fired from his old job, and Biff being unable to get a loan from Oliver, is related to what happened in the past at the critical juncture in Boston when Biff stumbled into Willy Loman's relationship with the Woman. Miller is brilliant at interlinking the two incidents separated in time. He wants us to see the tragedy of Willy Loman's hopes ambitions and desires crumble away and to see him as tragic hero undone by the passage of time, and the effort of passing the torch to the next generation. Willy then realising that he has left no legacy, tries to remedy this by planting seeds that he hopes will grow into something worthwhile. Miller's concerns are what audience interprets from the play. The play is not about communism or capitalism; it is about a man who is disillusioned by the passage of time. Miller wants the play to grab the audience and not let go. It has shown the character of Willy Loman, a man who has fallen ill of the free enterprise system; he is a man overcome by pride. He wants the audience to understand and relate to the play, he does not want a person to see the play and walk out unaffected. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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