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Death of a Salesman

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Natasha Bastos

on 18 November 2014

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Transcript of Death of a Salesman

What is a salesman?
Characters
Plot Summary
Setting
by Camilla and Natasha
Death of a Salesman
The definition of a salesman is a person who is employed in the job of promoting products and services and getting people to buy them.
New York (Brooklyn)
New England
Boston
Places visited by Willy: Providence



Will's shabby house and yard
Around 1950 (postwar era in America)
"There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! Population is getting out of control. The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And another one on the other side... How can they whip cheese?" (Page 9)
Waterbury
Portland
Bangor
Minor Characters:
Charley: Loman's neighboor
Bernard: Charley's son
The Woman: Willy's lover
Uncle Ben: Willy's older brother
Howard Wagner: Willy's boss
Jenny: Charley's secretary
Stanley: restaurant employee
Miss Forsythe: young woman
Letta: young woman, Miss Forsythe's friend
Major Characters:
Willy Loman
Linda
Biff
Happy

William
63 years old.
self-deluded traveling salesman
ambition (obsessed)
liar
"low man"
unsuccessful (failure)
materialistic
delusional
proud
ignorant
jealous
hallucinates
Willy Loman
Linda Loman
Willy's loyal, loving wife
hopeful
very carefully
traditional middle-class mother
mediator
Biff Loman
Themes
American Dream is superficial
Abandonment could causes flaw steem
Betrayal is the worst way to escape
Modern life (reality) could be overwhelming
Prioritize financial success over relationships takes you to a lifetime of anguish and lies.
Willy Loman’s American Dream


To the protagonist of Death of a Salesman, the American Dream is the ability to become prosperous by mere charisma. Willy believes that personality, not hard work and innovation, is the key to success. Time and again, he wants to make sure his boys are well-liked and popular
Biff’s American Dream:
Biff Loman does have potential to pursue the “right” dream – if only he could resolve his inner conflict. Biff is pulled by two different dreams. One dream is his father’s world of business, sales, and capitalism. But another dream involves nature, the great outdoors, and working with his hands. However, by the end of the play, Biff realizes that his father had the “wrong” dream.


To Willy’s older brother Ben, the American Dream is the ability to start with nothing and somehow make a fortune
Ben’s America Dream
Exposition
Rising Actions
Climax
Falling Actions
Resolution
Conflicts
Literary & Stylistic Elements
Arthur Miller Biography
Born October 17, 1915
Polish father had a successful company
Father's company went down during Great Depression of 1929
That same year he moved to Brooklyn
Died on February 10, 2005 because of heart failure at the age of 89
Works he wrote:
wrote 26 plays
a novel - Focus
several travel journals
a collection of short stories -
I Don't Need You Anymore
an autobiography -
Timebends: A Life
Bibliography
http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/c/the-crucible/arthur-miller-biography

http://www.shmoop.com/death-of-a-salesman/biff-loman.html

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/salesman/characters.html

http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Deathof.html

http://www.shmoop.com/death-of-a-salesman/summary.html

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/salesman/summary.html
Person vs. Person Willy vs. Biff

Person vs. Self Willy vs. Willy
Biff vs. Biff

illusions vs. reality

individual vs. society
Illusion vs. Reality
illusion of stature vs. reality of what we are or can be

Loman believed that being "well-liked” would lead him to success as a salesman, although in reality he was an average person who struggled in a profession that he was not good at. He committed himself to an ideal of success that he would never achieve as a salesman. He also instilled the same illusion into his son, Biff, that anything would be possible if he was “well-liked.
34 years old
well built
less succeeded
dreamer
football star
kleptomaniac
Represents Willy's vulnerable, poetic and tragic side
Happy Loman
Harold
32 years old
sexual appeal
professional ambition
Represents Willy's self-importance, ambition and blind servitude to societal expectation
Assistant to an assistant buyer
P.S: Both are lost, but in different ways
Charley
Willy's neighbor
owns successful business
humble
honest
Bernard
Charley's son
successful lawyer
hard worker
"nerd"
thinks that Biff is a hero
humble
Ben
Willy's wealthy older brother
dead (memory of past/imagination
Had gone to Alaska
Lived in Africa
Exposition
Willy and Biff are both home again

Willy complains to Linda

Biff and Happy talk about life
Rising Actions
Linda is worried with Willy Job
Rubber pipe

Willy flashbacks Young Biff & Bernard
Affair

Biff's business meeting

Charley gives Willy money

Climax
Loman men dinner

Biff confronts his father
Falling Actions
Willy realizes that Biff loves him

Willy and Ben "talk" (flashback)
Resolution
Willy commits suicide

Biff chose to follow his own path

Happy chose to follow his father's path

Loman family is free
Realism
Tragedy
Figurative Language
Structure
Irony
Imagery
Aristotle Poetics
Hermatia

Tragedy and the common man
In Salesman, critics found that the playwright had reconceived tragedy for a modern age.
(tragic flaw)
Perepeteia
(tragic irony)
Catastrophe
(reversal of fortune)
Anagnorises
Pity and Fear
Catharsis
(release)
Tragic hero
Audience
Tragic hero goes from a very high status into a very low status, Miller argues, defending the idea of tragedy and the common man.
Truly, Willy Loman is a tragic hero despite Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero being of royal status and "arouses our pity" through his pitfalls. It didn't seem that the common man could also be a tragic hero because his misfortunes would not be too extreme and should be expected. But Arthur Miller point out that considering the noble's hardships does not seem to excite the modern audience. Perhaps better understanding a tru tragic hero would soon make up for the lack of tragedies written in this age, as Miller complains.
Figurative Language
Personification
Figurative Language
Symbolism
"An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream rising out of reality." (pg.1)
Simile
"He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog." (pg. 40)
"The refrigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac." (pg. 54)
Metaphor
"The world is an oyster, but you don't crack it open on a mattress!" (pg.28)
Hyperbole
"I'm tired to the death." (pg.2)
"Figure it out. Work a lifetime to pay off a house." (pg.4)
Rubber hose
Stockings
Seeds
Tennis rackets
Alaska, Africa, and American West
" The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy." (pg. 99)
Jungle/Diamonds
Structure
Plot Structure
Flashback
Each flashback is somehow related to the present
Essential background
This use of flashback is fundamental to the structure and understanding of the play
His flashbacks show us relations between the characters and how they developed to how they are in the present
Using flashbacks, the author gives an insight into Willy's mental state causing the audience a sense of pity
Foreshadowing
Willy's flute theme foreshadows the revelation of his father's occupation and abandonment
Willy's preoccupation with Linda's stockings foreshadows his affair with The Woman
Willy's automobile accident before the start of Act I foreshadows his suicide at the end of Act II
"The writer must be in it; he can't be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always."
- Arthur Miller
Irony
Dramatic Irony
a contrast between what the character thinks to be true, and what we as the audience know to be true
Dinner scene
"I'm the New England man. I'm vital in New England." (Act I)
Situational Irony
a contrast between what happens and what was expected to happen
Willy's death (insurance policy)
Rating
Curiosities
Significance of Names
Ben
mountain peak (Scottish and Irish)
Willy looks upon Ben as the summit of success
Biff
hit or strike (English noun)
Biff verbally strikes back at Willy
Happy
ironic commentary on the future of Willy's younger son: He appears to be following in his father's footsteps and thus seems destined for unhappiness
Loman
low social status of Willy and his family
as well as the state of Willy's mental health
Full transcript