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University Degree: Arthur Miller

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  1. Is Willy Loman Presented as a Hero/Victim in "Death of a Salesman"?

    This would mean that Willy was completely unaware of his role as a victim in the play. It would also imply that Willy was not in control of his own fate. From the beginning of "Death of a Salesman" we see Willy playing the very victimised role of the conformer. Near the end of the first scene, as he speaks to his sons in one of his flashbacks he says: "the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead."

    • Word count: 2067
  2. How is Willy’s retreat into the past a form of escape from his unpleasant present reality?  How does it function as a way for Willy to cope with the failure to realize his ambitions?

    Willy's failure to accept such characteristics of reality have led him in search of a more sympathetic ally. In contrast to the factual, objective nature reality holds, a retreat into the past can offer a much more appealing mechanism for which to cope with a situation. The past differs greatly from reality in that she does allow for unpleasant things to be swept away and forgotten when desired. She also allows for certain events to be viewed much more favorably or pleasantly than they may have been originally.

    • Word count: 1417
  3. Discuss Miller's presentation of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

    However, her behaviour does suggest the cultural notions, common in that period, of restraint, or even timid, femininity; and, as the play bears out, masculinity of the time was overly identified with the virile figure it of athlete, businessmen, and soldiers. Willy's compulsion to lie has sometimes made him unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, and often chooses illusion over reality. For instance, Willy comes back to his children after working in New England telling them that he has been selling all day at large quantities before confessing to his wife that has can only just afford to pay

    • Word count: 2237
  4. Account for the continuing popularity of ‘Death of a Salesman’ as a stage play.

    His flaw lies in his determination to see material wealth as the only path to success. He is swallowed by 'the corporate dream machine'iii. The idea of the common man being belittled in this way is able to connect with audiences to an even greater extent now, as capitalism and consumerism advance across the globe, than it could 50 or so years ago. 'A critique of capitalism's penchant for chewing people up and spitting them out'iv, the play seems 'vacuum packed' v and prescient in its increased relevance in today's society of 'downsizing corporations'vi, as Arthur Miller called them, and its portrayal of stress caused by overwork.

    • Word count: 1498
  5. Critically discuss Michel Foucault's concept of knowledge/power with reference to Arthur Miller's film "The Crucible."

    In The Order of Things, Foucault can give up the philosophy of the subject without depending on ideas from social issues in society, which, according to his own analysis, are confined the modern form of knowledge. Foucault had studied the form of knowledge that appears with the claim of rescuing the intelligible from everything empirical, accidental, and particular, and that becomes especially suitable as medium of power in particular on account of this "pretended separation of validity from genesis" (Kelly: 1995, p.82).

    • Word count: 2844
  6. Arthur Miller.

    As he became a rising playwright, he decided to write an autobiography titled Timebends: A Life in 1987. Miller's first taste of success came from All My Sons in 1947, winning him the New York Drama Critics Circle award. However, another brilliant piece of his, Death of a Salesman, raised controversial issues1 as to why the main character was merely just an ordinary man. Miller strongly stood firm to his view of tragedy, stating that emotion can be drawn from the audience through any character regardless of status if they are willing to die for a just cause.

    • Word count: 619
  7. Explore the dramatic significance of the first time switch in "Death of a Salesman". What might the dramatist have been suggesting to the original audience about society at that time?

    As the audience learn about the Loman family's poor financial situation, it becomes clear that Willy is a victim of the American dream. Willy's failure in leading a rich or even just a comfortable life is very apparent. He complains about his work and struggles to pay his bills. He is also frequently shown in a state of depression, he cannot concentrate when driving; he is still working at his old age and is struggling to bring in a steady income.

    • Word count: 1699
  8. A Discussion of Symbols in "A Death of Salesman".

    ultimately leads to Willy's downfall (the futile seeds). This is a crucial point in understanding and evaluating the play because the American Dream that Willy thought as infallible, in the end proves to be fallible by leading Willy to his downfall. Linda's And Woman's Stockings Reference in the play: (To Willy) Biff: You - you gave her mama's stockings![His tears break through and he rises to go] Discussion: The stockings in this play, in my opinion, represent sexual infidelity. Willy is accused by Biff for giving her mother's stockings to a woman.

    • Word count: 986
  9. Is 'Death of a Salesman' anything more than a criticism of the moral and social standards of America in the mid twentieth century?

    The cult of the personality and the profit motive are the two main ideologies that come into direct into conflict in 'Death of a Salesman'. The play moves from the homespun myth of the fierce individualist who has pulled himself up by the bootstraps and into fame and fortune (i.e. Willy's father and Ben, his brother) to the harsh realities of industrial capitalist society. The ideologies are not mutually exclusive. They both fuel the insatiable greed at the heart of the American dream.

    • Word count: 1154
  10. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - To what extent can Willy Loman be considered a tragic hero?

    The plays revolved around a great man, such as a king or war hero, who had a tragic flaw. This flaw would eventually become his downfall and he would fall from his glory. Through out the play the hero has many opportunities to overcome his mistakes, but he does not follow these opportunities and this contributes to his downfall. His downfall however, doesn't go about unnoticed and unimportant, as even his death has a cause and most tragic heroes die with a moment of realization which states that all their suffering did not go in vain.

    • Word count: 1266
  11. The Significance of a Line From Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

    Again, he uses the single, brief statement, "Isn't that a remarkable thing." Thus this simple statement leads Willie to do a remarkable thing for his family-he commits suicide. To finalize, a line used early on as a clich´┐Ż, during the course of the play becomes a commentary on the state of Willy Loman's life and how far from reality he truly was. Yet, though Willy did find some events in his life "remarkable," he could not realize that as a salesman and a father, he was a failure. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding leads to his death, a death he could not escape for he brought it on himself. Isn't that remarkable?

    • Word count: 11350
  12. Look at the section from Charley's entrance to exit. How dramtically effective do you find this section? What ideas within the play do you find within this section?

    This is after Charley offers him a job and Willie tells him 'I got a good job.' He denies help for his family who he clearly loves so much because of his pride. He later contradicts himself when talking to his projection of Ben, his brother. As his brother is portrayed in Willies imagination as somebody of great similarity but also success, varying from Willie. Willie tells him a different story, desperately seeking self-esteem from Ben's approval. This self-denial has left Willie confused as a person and lead to his insanity. He tells Ben 'business is bad.

    • Word count: 1180
  13. Consider the importance of time in "Death of a Salesman"

    Willies friends also advance in life where he fails to, Howard for instance has become head of the company whilst Willy has stayed in the same job for years, and he could even be seen as going backwards by the way that he is only paid with commission nowadays. Biff as well has also failed to make anything substantial while the "boffin" Bernard has become a high flyer in the business world. The whole of the Loman's world has become stagnated with things going from bad to worse because they wont move to the future.

    • Word count: 1180
  14. Discuss the Role and Importance of the First "Flashback" Scene in Death of a Salesman.

    We also find out that he is not doing so well at his job as he made out to his sons when he talks to Linda: he is not selling that much when working and that people don't really take him seriously. Probably the main revelation is that we find out that he has had an affair with a woman in Boston while on business. Finally we see Bernard and Linda bombard Willy with complaints about Biff, saying " He's driving the car without a license" and "All the mothers are afraid of him" suggesting that it is Willy's fault that Biff's in trouble and he should do something.

    • Word count: 1222
  15. Death of a Salesman: The Loman's Misguided American Values

    Wealth and success are all the things that he values; he believes that they are the American dream. Willy teaches these values to his sons, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it -- because personality always wins the day" (Miller 1947). His belief that popularity provides the essential tools for success proves to be a tragic mistake. Willy grew up believing that being "well-liked" is the secret to becoming a success. He thinks that popularity will help you charm teachers and even open doors in business. This may be true, especially in our superficial society.

    • Word count: 1689
  16. Death of a salesman - What are the dramatical devices that miller uses to show the disintegration of wily Loman?

    To be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the American Dream. This lead onto success, wealth and in due time - power. However, this dream for everyone developed, and encouraged greed, selfish behaviour, pride, and rivalry between one another. Willy Loman was 'caught-up' in this American Dream. It causes business to develop in the world. Capitalism and the profit motive and competitive instinct, makes Willy have a weakness in his personality. This weakness was caused by a combination of business pressures. Willy wants to prove himself through successes a salesman, but as he fails, his own life destroys him.

    • Word count: 3397
  17. Arthur Miller said that his first title for “Death of a salesman” was “The inside of his head”. Why do you think Miller considered using this as a title and how can a production of the play convey to an audience that it is about Willy

    The present is shown as a realistic view of what is happening to Willy and his family. But the past is mainly shown as how Willy remembered it. He may have remembered it in a slightly different way to what it was like in reality, as he felt his past was all he had to cherish, the past was all the hope he had left, to him, everything else had seemed to whither away. Onstage, unreality is shown using lighting, golden light is used on Willy's figures of respect, such as Ben.

    • Word count: 2654
  18. Consider Millers use of flashbacks, how, to what Purpose and effect are they used?

    The stage directions within the script, show how Miller wanted to achieve the changes in the set, such as the scene, in which we find out that Willy is having an affair, "Stanley picks up the chair and follows them off. Knocking is heard off left. The woman enters, laughing. Willy follows her." This scene shows how Miller removed the props within the previous scene to allow the new scene to be acted out. Also as the flashback proceeds Miller increase the space in the set by using the characters dialogue, "All right, stay in the bathroom here, and don't come out.

    • Word count: 1971
  19. The Crucible. Write about the character of Judge Danforth, and the use of his judicial powers in Salem.

    The first mention of Danforth is in Act three. Miller includes notes about many of the characters in the stage directions, and those of Danforth give an instant impression about him. 'Danforth is a grave man in his sixties, of some humour and sophistication, that does not, however interfere with an exact loyalty to his position and his cause.' He brings religion into his arguments a lot, mainly criticising those who do not attend church regularly. He seems to have more respect for those who are what he thinks of as 'good Christians.'

    • Word count: 766

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