Dramatic Structure Of Death Of A Salesman

1851 Words 8 Pages
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is considered an artistic stunning success and became has become one of the most performed and adapted plays in American theatrical history. The play was marvelously acclaimed for both critic and audience, it also won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, consolidating Arthur Miller’s career as a writer. The simple and tragic story of Willy Loman, as Miller points out “Salesman is absurdly simple. It’s about a salesman and it’s his last day on earth” emphasizes the social question of the effect the capitalistic American Dream myth has on an ordinary family, as he tries but fails to achieve the American Dream of material success and prosperity. Willy Loman has the quality of an …show more content…
This is because of its structure. The very form of the play—the irregular process of mind through which Willy Loman suffers during the last day of his life—is itself a result of the sales-man's commitment to an unrealistic image of himself. As a consequence of pursuing for so many years the counterfeit dignity embodied in his idea of success, Willy now finds the truth about himself overwhelming in its accumulated force. As Miller stated, he is "literally at that terrible moment when the voice of the past is no longer distant but quite as loud as the voice of the present," For this reason the structure of the play is a "mobile concurrency" of past and present, fantasy and biography. In constructing this play, Miller was absorbed by the concept that "nothing in life happens 'next' but that everything exists together and at the same time within us." There is no past to be "brought forward" in a human being, the playwright says, but he is his past at every moment and his present is "merely that which his past is capable of noticing and smelling and reacting to." Because his salesman-hero is in a peculiar psychological state, which exactly exemplifies this relationship between past and present, Miller sought "a form which, in itself as a form, would literally be the process of Willy Loman's way of mind." When he combined expressionism with realism to create this form, he made an innovation in dramatic techniques. In …show more content…
Gradually we are brought to confront a situation that we have already been wondering about: how will Willy end his life and when? For instance, Willy has a fatal flaw: he lives in a dream world and is always schizophrenic—that is, he talks to himself. Then, we return to the 'past' and come back to the 'present' with him and has no difficulty making transitions. Maybe because an illusion of such movement lies within the structure of the play. Miller has actually chosen displayed to us the scenes, which made up the Willy's life. These scenes, from false pride to despair and from a vestige of love to an orgy of hate, pity, and death, spread in front of us as if they exist in Willy's mind. According to Bierman, into his visualization of Willy's final hours, Miller introduces two theatrical skills: "the guidance from Ben and the nurture of Biff." (266). The guidance from Ben presents Willy's inner insecurity, for Willy bows down to the image of Ben's success. Liza Williams supported that Ben "personifies ideal success, the realization of the wildest dreams a man might have. In his quest to make some sense of his failed life, Willy views Ben as a guide — an older brother's role — who appears to him every time Willy is most desperate." (21) When

Related Documents