Arthur Miller's (Death of a Salesman) views on present society

Essay by KezzeKHigh School, 11th grade November 2007

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Willy, the mentally unstable salesman from Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” is Miller’s tool in a play that criticizes our changing American society. Some critics claim that Miller uses the play to express the unpleasantness in a changing society. Although Miller is not explicit in his social criticism, “Death of a Salesman” has numerous incognito attacks against what he views as a declining society.

“How do they whip cheese?” Willy asks as a metaphor to expressing Miller’s views against the increasingly industry based America. The “whipped cheese” is an example of how American life was changing from what was natural to what was easy or convenient. Sure, one could pull out a block of cheese, unwrap it, cut a few slices for ones sandwich, or one could just grab a can and be one foamy squirt away from a cheesy sandwich. Miller’s criticism is that all aspects of our lives were becoming more industry based, including the food we eat.

The apartments with their “sharp angular structure” in contrast with Willy’s traditional home also expressed that invading sense of industry. Yes, we could give everybody a small section of land to place their house on and decorate to their liking or we can efficiently pack every one together in a space saving manner. Miller again attacks the industry, like society with this character Howard, Willy’s boss. The workplace too, along with home life and housing, has become more industrious. When Willy comes to Howard to ask for a job because he needs to pay his health insurance Howard tells Willy “Thanks for working for this company for 35 years, but you’re not efficient anymore so we don’t need you anymore”. Howard’s lack of care for human interest shows that he treated people like...