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Death of a Salesman
Transcript of Death of a Salesman
By Arthur Miller
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
About the Playwright: Arthur Miller
And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ’Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?
Following WWII economic growth and prosperity
Nonfarming Business Growth
Connections to American History
The American Dream
Well-liked, Attractiveness, Likability are keys to success.
Work hard without complaints
Consider Willy’s assertion that being well liked is tantamount to success. Does this philosophy hold true? What is the relationship between friendships, popularity, and success in Death of a Salesman?
Fear of Abandonment
Inability to understand reality
Willy's tendency to mythologize people
Wrong Idea of American Dream
The American West, Alaska, and African Jungle
Willy's Father - Alaska
Ben - African Jungle
American West - Biff
Is Willy a failure ?
Wealth, Materials for Offsprings
Entering the Jungle to get Diamond
Linda's and Woman's Stockings
Betrayal and Sexual Infidelity
The Rubber Hose
Desperate Suicide Attempts
Using Long Term Credits
Before War, After War
Capitalism better than Communism
Is Biff right in saying of Willy that "the man didn’t know who he was?"
I saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and I thought, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be . . . when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.
A diamond is hard and rough to the touch.
Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.
Ceren Dönmez - Alper Çolak
Born in New York City on October 17, 1915
Began as playwright at University of Michigan
Pulitzer Prize winner for Death of A Salesman
Double winner of New York
Drama Critics Circle Award
The salesman. He is 60 years old and very unstable, tending to imagine events from the past as if they are real. He vacillates between different perceptions of his life. Willy seems childlike and relies on others for support.
His first name, Willy, reflects this childlike aspect as well as sounding like the question "Will he?" His last name gives the feel of Willy being a "low man," someone low on the social ladder and unlikely to succeed.
Willy's wife. Linda mostly just smiles and nods when Willy talks unrealistically about hopes for the future, although she seems to have a good knowledge of what is really going on. She is angry with her sons for not helping Willy more, and supports Willy lovingly, despite the fact that Willy sometimes ignores her opinion over that of others. She is the first to realize Willy is contemplating suicide at the beginning of the play and urges Biff to make something of himself, while expecting Happy to help Biff do so.
The thirty-four year old son of Willy Loman, Biff was once a star high school athlete with a scholarship. While Biff is in some ways desperate to impress and please his dad, he also realizes that Willy has flawed, materialistic dreams that Biff is neither able, nor desires, to achieve. Unlike his father and brother, Biff is self-aware and values the truth. In one shouting match with Willy, he says that he can't hold a job because his dad made him so arrogant as a boy that he can't handle taking orders from a boss.
Biff reminds us that the American Dream is not every man's dream. Rather than seeking money and success, Biff wants a more basic life. He wants to be seen and loved for who he is. He wants his dad to stop being such a deluded kid. Sadly, Miller seems to say, Americans (Biff, in this case) are made the victims of the country's success. Just as Willy is unable to understand or even love his son America as a whole is unable to understand those who value simple pleasures over the rat race.
He is always looking for approval from his parents but rarely gets any, and he even goes as far as to make things up just for attention, such as telling his parents he is going to get married. He tries often to keep his family's perceptions of each other positive or "happy" by defending each of them during their many arguments but still has the most turbulent relationship with Linda, who looks down on him for his lifestyle and apparent cheapness, despite his giving them money.
Willy's older brother who became a diamond boss after a detour to Africa. He is dead but Willy frequently speaks to him in his hallucinations of the past. He went into the jungle when he was 17 and returned at 21 very rich. He is Willy's role model, although he is much older and has no real relationship with Willy. He represents Willy's idea of the American Dream success story, and is shown coming by the Lomans' house while on business trips to share stories or to hear about their lives.
Charley and His Son Bernard
Charley is the neighbour of Willy. Willy is jealous of him because his son is more successful than Willy's. Charley offers Willy a job many times when visiting him, yet Willy declines every time, even after he loses his job as a salesman.
Bernard is Charley's son. In Willy's flashbacks, he is a nerd, and Willy forces him to give Biff test answers. He worships Biff and does anything for him. Later, he is a very successful lawyer, married, and expecting a second son.
Characteristics of a Tragic Hero
"A man doesn't become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall."
~Aristotle Six Characteristics of the Tragic Hero:
Nobility or wisdom (by birth)
Error of judgment (Hamartia)
A reversal of fortune (perepetia)
The discovery or recognition that the reversal was brought about by the hero's own actions (anagnorisis)
The audience must feel dramatic irony for the character.
The character's fate must be greater than deserved.
Do you think Willy is a tragic hero ?
The hero is a common man.
The hero struggles against society. The hero meets his downfall.
The downfall is a result of an incongruity between his own perception of the world and reality.
The hero achieves a kind of redemption in his downfall.
Miller's Modern Tragedy