"Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller

Essay by tostudyCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2009

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In 1949, the United States experienced the remarkable booming in its economy and in its population also. Due to the trend of movement, a lot of people with their American dream succeeded. Still, many people ended their dream in failure and bitterness because they did not catch up what was happening in society. “Death of a Salesman” is Arthur Miller’s best-known play, written in the social background of the post-World War II. In his play, Miller creates the Lomans as a minimized society of America, in which the main character, Willy Loman, is a traveling salesman who becomes out-of-date with his employer and his time. In drama, Willy Loman could be reminded as a tragic character, but in reality, people could consider him a family head who messes up himself because of his inability of distinguishing between the reality and the hallucination.

Right at the beginning of Act I, Miller utilizes the stage directions, such as “Willy Loman, the Salesman, enters, carrying two large sample cases” (1564).

By contrasting Willy between his title and action, Miller’s stage direction reveals Willy’s inappropriateness. If salesman is more likely known as a young person who is skillful in speech, Willy, the salesman in the play, is depicted “past sixty years of age,” and “carrying two large sample cases” (1564). However, the direction not only indicates Willy’s inappropriateness, it also presents the contradiction in his relations. Scattered over the play, Willy’s wife, Linda, often sticks to the kitchen, darning and mending stockings (1578-1579) while the woman in Willy’s affair always comes up along with the image of expensive stockings. In both of her appearances, the detail of stockings is mentioned as a primary trade between her and Willy. In act I, if she says, “And thanks for the stockings. I...