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Torvald Helmer and Willy Loman, the respective male protagonists from Ibsens A Dolls House and Millers Death of a Salesman, make interesting characters for comparison. Though for the must part they are complete opposites, both live in illusory wo

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Introduction

A Certain Private Conversation In One Act World Literature Paper Two Assignment 2B May 200X Exam Session Word Count: 1497 Statement of Intent Torvald Helmer and Willy Loman, the respective male protagonists from Ibsen's A Doll's House and Miller's Death of a Salesman, make interesting characters for comparison. Though for the must part they are complete opposites, both live in illusory worlds, an inevitable product of their masculine pride. Willy, out of place in a social environment he hates but wants desperately to belong to, is constantly fleeing to a heavily edited past for comfort, while systematically denying the reality around him. Helmer, though brashly self-assured in an environment he feels belongs to him, also lives an illusion, as his arrogance blinds him to the maturing woman inside the "skylark" he thinks is his wife. Through an imaginary conversation between the two men, I will try and show how their different characters and illusions comes out strongly in their language, in both cases a veritable 'rhetoric of the deluded.' In recreating their very different dialects, I will examine how subtle elements like tone and register are integral to characterization. I shall also include a little of each man's separate thought process to try and further develop their characters. ...read more.

Middle

"I'm strapped, I'm strapped. I don't know what to do." The words escaped quickly from Willy. He'd been so sure the businessman had been laughing at him! But he wanted to talk to him! How remarkable! The man was saying nothing, but had raised an eyebrow quizzically. Willy carried on talking quickly, words rumbling haphazardly out of his mouth. "I was fired today. The woods are burning and that goddamn Howard fired me today." Oh dear. Torvald knew he should never have been compassionate; it was simply far too much bother. Still, business matters were his forte. "Yes, it's a wonderful thing to know that one's position is assured and that one has ample income, I quite agree, but aren't you of retiring age, anyway? I say, which woods are burning exactly? I live rather near a forest." "Retire? Why I'm vital to the company! I'm a people person, see. Open sesame for me it is ... but it's not really the business, actually. My boys-they think I'm a phony fake! But times are changing, and I don't understand. There used to be respect and comradeship and gratitude... and now ... now there's nothing!" Torvald was lost. Hadn't they just been talking business? ...read more.

Conclusion

Honestly. Ungrateful fool... and why was everybody so obsessed with miracles? "It's a cutthroat world and Ben conquered it! Into the jungle without a penny, he went, and out with a fortune! What a miracle, heh? I often wonder how's it done...couldn't you tell me the answer?" "The miracle of miracles..." muttered Torvald. The sound of the door slamming as someone left the little cafe jolted him, and he stood up abruptly. "I'd really better go, old chap," he said quite dazedly. "To Alaska? Great opportunities in Alaska. God, if only I'd gone. Imagine the magnificence!" "Imagine," said Torvald. "Imagine," he repeated, and he turned to follow the echo of the door. A Certain Private Conversation in One Act Unlike many imagined conversations offered for this option (2b), the participants here, Torvald Helmer and Willy Loman, are cannily chosen and the reasons for their choice are offered, as well as a clear focus on what is to be achieved. Features of style to be included are appropriately identified. Language in the piece is a fine complement to the intelligent characterization, while the handling of the dialogue is both skilled and witty. Materials from both plays are deftly incorporated; the fictional personalities of the two men shine through in a credible conversation. 5555 (20) 1 Torvald being not the kind of man to drink-at least probably not. Candidate number D1234-001 page 1 ...read more.

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