The Theme Of Death In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

Superior Essays
For all that are living, the fundamental concept of life is living then dying. The two distinct pathways, living and dying, are vast and abstract filled with infinite stories, therefore act as perfect candidates for subjectivity. Due to the fact that life is an inevitable factor of all matters, numberless perspectives and opinions on the controversial subject derive. More specifically, death is inevitable to all that are living, and when topicalized effectively in a piece of work, it acts as a vehicle capable of carrying out the captivity of the creator’s perspective on the grand idea of life itself. So in a work, whether it be a playwright or a novel, a single idea ‘death’ represents endless factors. Throughout the history of literature, …show more content…
Miller launches the symbolization through death of the protagonist Willy Loman, a salesman of Brooklyn with his career on decline, utterly lost between the fine lines of personal hallucinations and the unforgiving reality. In Willy’s world, the reality crashes with his personal desire and longing for achievement in the modern society filled with corruptions and rotten capitalism. “The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman and you don’t know that.” This is a line spoken by the character Charley, a neighbor and possibly the only true friend Willy possessed. Through the words spoken by characters, Miller shows the cold reality of society drenched in capitalism, in which only superficial factors that appear to the naked eye receive appreciation, and interpersonal characteristics are ignored. “Why must everybody like you? Who liked J.P. Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked.” This line alone represents Miller’s criticism of society swallowed by blind-sighted people mindlessly chasing after money. In Willy’s case, he is merely a victim of this blind society. He longs for love and affection from his family …show more content…
Scott Fitzgerald also used the idea of ‘death’ as a literary device symbolising the decaying society in his renowned work The Great Gatsby. Similar to that of Miller, he manipulates the plot’s climax toward the direction of a tragic ending, in which the protagonist Jay Gatsby gets murdered by George Wilson. “It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.” The ‘holocaust’ in this context describes the falling of Gatsby, along with Wilson’s suicide. The ironic twist in the tragedy is the fact that Wilson believed Gatsby to be responsible for his wife Myrtle’s affair and death, however this was a suspicion far from the fact. Nick Carraway, the actual narrator of the story, depicts all characters of the novel, including Tom and Daisy Buchanan as “a rotten crowd”, while Gatsby “worth the whole damn bunch put together” . From this context, Fitzgerald is indirectly conveying the ‘rotten’ society drenched in American Dream through the eyes of Nick. Furthermore, Fitzgerald cleverly inserts a reference from Benjamin Franklin’s The Autobiography , to depict Gatsby as merely a romantic man eager in chasing his dreams, following the example of Benjamin Franklin’s set of daily routine. This implies that both Miller and Fitzgerald manipulated the destiny of the protagonist to victimize him of brutal society. In addition, similar to that of Willy Loman’s barren funeral, Gatsby’s

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Death Surrounding Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” tragedy is well-known for its theme of death. From the opening scene with the ominous ghost to the bloodbath of the final scene, death makes itself known as an unwelcomed guest that never cares to leave. However, there must be some further meaning, deeper connotation, and purpose to which death is made so apparent in the play, both physically and spiritually. Consider, for a moment, the amount of times death occurs throughout the play. King Hamlet has slain King Fortinbras in military battle before the play opens.…

    • 1016 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Physically, Tom is “enormous” and dominant, which translates into his internal ego (7). He is portrayed as harsh and impulsive throughout the novel, later causing murder by blaming Myrtle’s death on Gatsby, ultimately coercing Wilson to shoot Gatsby and then himself. Instead of feeling shame, Tom states that Gatsby “had it coming to him,” and Nick realizes that he could never “forgive or like him” after discovering the truth (179). Both Tom and Daisy “were careless people,” since “they smashed up things and creatures and retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness” after the damage was done (179). Daisy is chiefly concerned with wealth and status, and becomes infatuated with the extravagant mansion Gatsby flaunts.…

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Suffering from a failure is a significant turning point in an individual’s lifetime. However, escaping from a failure does not solve the problem fundamentally, but it is pawning off the responsibility onto others who are remaining. It is in this scenario that Arthur Miller explores in the play Death of a Salesman. In the play, the title character, Willy, a prideful man, who was successful as a salesman and a head of the household faces a failure of getting fired and raising independant sons. Consequently, he feels useless, thus suicides himself.…

    • 1268 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The reminiscing downfall of the insecure salesman and his misguided perception of success leads him to fail within the success driven environment that he is to be surrounded in. Within the play of “ death of a salesman” written by Arthur Miller the author asserts the main character Willy Loman main flaw being insecurity demonstrated in his boastful behavior claiming he is rather a “vital” necessity in New England. As well as he self praises himself in boasting that he indeed has expanded the company's territory when in reality he isn't a good salesman. Willy rather puts on a facade to cover his flaw with ego and pride. Willy deludes himself into believing that his sons future will be indeed highly successful.Having the thought of…

    • 826 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He also failed to achieve his own dream turn to the next generation, which not only increase their mental burden and did not indicate a successful way, but also gave them a series of misleading and bad influence. Ultimately, Willy committed suicide ... for death benefit insurance compensation to his family. This play through the two generations of people’s failure to denial of everyone can success in the “American Dream”. It should be said that Willy's real tragedy is not only in his suicide, but in his pursuit of a lifetime of his dream, and his attitude towards his life. The destruction of the impoverished person reflects the conflict between dream and reality: between the conflict of a humble small characters and the brilliant "American Dream".…

    • 686 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Chasing Death Despite the fact that Willy Loman may not exemplify the tragic hero due to his lack of success and stature, Death of a Salesman should be considered a tragedy as it succeeds in crafting a narrative that is centralized around the dangers of ambition, illustrated through the cautionary tale of the fall of Willy Loman, who falls to Earth from his lofty dreams, and in the process tears his life to pieces. It is difficult to proclaim Willy a typical tragic hero; he is anything but that. Willy can’t keep a salary or a job; however, it is what he loses that makes Death of a Salesman a tragedy. In his decline Willy loses his family and the image they held of him, and by the end of his downward spiral he actually loses himself. Although…

    • 1808 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Every induvial is born with a finite life span, that of which is unknown. The concept of eternal rest is one that hinders minds, holding different interpretations. Death, the inevitable and unavoidable conclusion to existence, is a facet of life that every individual becomes acquainted with. Writers have used this notion of death as the basis for many literary works. Holding a negative denotation, literary writers have created a new image for the face of death, giving it human characteristics.…

    • 1559 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    It shows that culture of commercial and industrial civilisation, commanded by capitalist economy, plays havoc with the warmth of human relations in family and society. Linda’s remarks are revealing when she says, “It sounds so old-fashioned and silly, but I tell you he put his whole life into you and you’ve turned your backs on him” (Miller, Collected Plays 165). Linda reminds her sons of the pains their father underwent for the benefit of his sons. Instead of showing sympathy and understanding, the sons resort to fault finding mission and Biff in particular is a bitter critic of his father. Sons’ attitude reveals the uncaring and unsympathetic behaviour of the sons in a capitalist society, who simply criticise and find fault in the character of their parents and do not pay heed and regard to the other side of the parents.…

    • 1894 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Silver Water Analysis

    • 1218 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The hunger as described by the unnamed narrator was “...vast and boundless...” but was more than just an unsettled craving. It was said to be a curse placed upon him after his failed attempt at a bakery attack. After receiving a generous helping of bread from a shop owner who only wanted the attackers to listen to a record of Wagner in return, made the entire attack unsuccessful and unfinished (Haruki Murakami 74). This only left an open desire for the husband to go back and finish what he started. The curse and the desire for food had opened up the couples characterization as placing them as people who desperately had a need to complete unfinished business.…

    • 1218 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Cloud Atlas Analysis

    • 2226 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Publisher Timothy Cavendish lives in a society where murder can make an absolutely horrible book become a bestseller, mocking a society that cares more about notoriety than actual substance. Sonmi-451, the human clone’s society forms a corrupt and dystopian system. And Zachry Bailey’s society lives in fear and primitiveness, too afraid to seek change until it leads to their own demise. This movie upheld the individual and stressed individual choices, painting a rather negative view of society on a…

    • 2226 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays