Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (Dialogue) by Eric J. Sterling

By Eric J. Sterling

Arthur Miller's loss of life of a salesperson, the 3rd quantity within the discussion sequence, covers six significant and arguable issues facing Miller's vintage play. the subjects comprise feminism and the function of ladies within the drama, the yankee Dream, enterprise and capitalism, the importance of expertise, the legacy that Willy leaves to Biff, and Miller's use of symbolism. The authors of the essays comprise famous Arthur Miller students comparable to Terry Otten and the past due Steven Centola in addition to younger, rising students. a number of the essays, rather those written via the rising students, are likely to hire literary idea whereas those by way of the verified students are inclined to illustrate the strengths of conventional feedback by way of studying the textual content heavily. it truly is interesting to determine how students at various levels in their educational careers method a given subject from specific views and infrequently diversified methodologies. The essays provide insightful and provocative readings of dying of a salesperson in a suite that would end up really worthy to students and scholars of Miller's most famed play.

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The aging and unsuccessful salesman who is unable to grow up is protected and cared for by his seemingly selfless, if not desire-less, wife, a character who seems to exist solely to satisfy, cope with, and counsel her boyish, impulsive, and misinformed male counterpart. Willy can be read in many ways as her dependent, a vulnerable and childish character for whom audiences are supposed to feel pity. And with Willy’s sexual needs conspicuously met by a woman other than Linda, perhaps even Linda’s dramatic opposite, audiences can discern in Willy’s wife a female character who completes the conservative maternal construct that places selflessness and nurturance first and foremost, and sexuality as nonexistent.

Linda, of course, more than slightly imitates Annie’s flaws and her goodness. On one hand, Linda expresses an unalterable devotion to Willy and seems as much caught up in his childlike faith in the American Dream as he is. She buys “American-type cheese” as though expressing her faith in the American way. ” (35). She acts effusively when Biff talks about seeing Oliver to help start a new life in the commercial world. ”, she exudes, both encouraging Willy and expressing her own naïve hope. As innocently as Willy, she believes that “[m]aybe things are beginning to” look up and declares, as self-deceivingly as Willy might, that “Oliver always thought the highest” of Biff (62, 64, 65).

38). At best, for many of these critics, Linda Loman represents Miller’s failure to create progressive and helpful female characters; at worst, she reflects the dramatist’s sexist attitude, ironically, given the play’s intent, in corroboration with the corrosive, masculine-driven, materialistic ethos of American culture. Both contentions are open to question. According to Miller, Willy Loman was in part a reflection of his Uncle Manny Newman, who, like Willy, had a wife and two sons. ” She supported her husband with a “mild enthusiastic smile lest he feel he was not being appreciated” (Timebends 123).

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