The Power of Irony in "The Death of a Salesman" Essay

1800 Words May 8th, 2013 8 Pages
Renata Lemos
English 102
Professor: Jeff Ousborne

The Power of Irony on “The Death of a Salesman”

Authors use irony in literature in order to give double meanings and make it more interesting to the reader. In the play “ The Death of a Salesman” Arthur Miller uses irony as a strong writing technique in order to express the character's behavior. In “The Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller moments of situational and dramatic irony helps to illustrate the story's theme in which Willy is a man trying yo achieve the American dream, however he have created a world of illusion. Dramatic irony occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. Willy thinks that
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It is immensely tragic that at the time when Willy and Linda should be happy, Willy chooses to kill himself. Either way, the chief irony is the way in which they now should be settling down and enjoying retirement without any financial burdens. However, Willy's suicide has left Linda to enjoy this by herself. Now the house will be empty for Linda and even more lonely then when Willy would leave on his trips. The fact that Willy thinks that he is superior to Charley is an example of dramatic irony. Willy does not want to work for Charley because he thinks that he is better than him,

and if he did work for Charley he would be inferior to him. However, he still has to ask for money from Charley. When Charley offers Willy a job and Willy replies to him saying, “ I can't work for you, that's all, don't ask me why” (1444). In this quote readers are able to see that Willy did not want the job and didn't want to say why, however we as readers know the truly reason for his action. Willy tries to act and to seem as if he is superior to Charley even tough he does not even have a job and is in need of help. He wanted to think of himself and people to look at him as if he was a successful man, however even Charley knows that Willy is just lying to himself and that it won't take him anywhere. The attendance of Willy's funeral is an example of situational irony. Willy fantasizes about the crowds that would turn out at his funeral, were he to kill himself.

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