Symbolism In Death Of A Salesman And The Metamorphosis

There is one element that is present in all great literary works, without which the works would be one dimensional and drab. Symbolism is a necessity in literature, adding depth to stories and characters. A common misconception about symbolism is the belief that only objects can be symbols when in actuality anything can be a symbol, including actions. Though literary works may vary widely, symbolic actions can connect them. An example of this connection is visible between Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka where the main character in both novels disregards personal tragedy and instead focuses on work putting work above self. Both men are dealing with turmoil in their lives, Gregor in The Metamorphosis …show more content…
Throughout the novel Willy is plagued by suicidal thoughts and a declining mental state resembling dementia but instead of retiring from his job as a salesman, which causes a large amount of stress and forces him to drive hours away from his home each day, he tries to get a better paying job from his company that would not require him to travel. This results in him being fired but instead of taking this opportunity to work on his mental well-being and repairing his tarnished relationship with his son he tries to find some way to get his job back repeating that he is a salesman through a novel. Willy continually repeats the phrase “I’m a salesman” including when his neighbor and longtime friend Charlie offers him a job that would be easier on him but would not allow him to be a salesman, showing how his job has become his entire identity. This can also be shown in the title Death of a Salesman by using the title salesman instead of his actual name. Willy did not die, a salesman did. Miller also shows the overemphasis on work and belief that a person’s work dictates a person’s worth imposed by society through Willy’s insistence that his son Biff become a salesman and stop hopping around from job to job. Willy’s pushing for Biff to get a job as a salesman with little or no regard to the strain it puts on their relationship as father and son shows how he has

Related Documents