Death Of A Salesman

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade December 2001

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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman tells the story of a middle-class, traveling salesman named Willy Loman as he deals with his skewed views of success and pursuit of wealth. He believes that success comes form being well liked, and has instilled these believes in his sons. Both Willy's and society's misplaced values are exposed at his Requiem in which there is nobody in attendance except his immediate family.

The decision to call Willy's passing a Requiem is very significant. As defined by the World Book Dictionary, a requiem is "˜a special mass for the dead.' It is more than just a conclusion. Ironically, a requiem would tend to imply the coming together of many people to celebrate a person's life. However, in Willy's case only one person, his only friend Charlie attends the funeral besides his family. The customers up north that Willy spoke about did not show up.

By Willy's standards, his life was a failure and he died as a failure. Biff considers Willy's life a failure because he had the wrong dreams.

Another point that is underlined in the Requiem is the unsuitability of Willy's dreams. Though in the play it is mentioned that Willy enjoyed using his hands, it is not fully recognized how much until the Requiem. Willy never seemed to be happy or inspired enough to be a truly successful salesman. Happiness is essential to succeed as a salesman. The Requiem emphasizes how Willy didn't really succeed on any level "" socially, professionally or personally. The aspect of"˜ success' is a central theme in the play. The notion of the American Dream's commercial success versus personal success and happiness stands out at many times. Willy was not true to himself, and so he was not successful.

The main theme of the play is...