Symbolism In Death Of A Salesman

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Symbolism in Death of a SalesmanArthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman is the origin of modern tragedy; indeed, Miller created the genre when he penned the tale of Willy Loman, the sad, struggling average Joe who just cannot make his life succeed. Numerous and clearly defined examples of symbolism helped to make this play a successful and accepted tragedy. These symbols gave the play a depth that allowed it to reach its audiences on a more personal level. Several major examples of this symbolism are the stockings, both those of Willy?s wife and those of his mistress, Alaska/the American West/Africa, and the planting of the seeds in the end of the play. All add to the drama of Miller?s characters and make them human enough for the audience to share their emotion, to see that character?s life in our own lives or the lives of those we know.

Examples of symbolism runs through almost every scene of Death of a Salesman. One example that Miller uses often is the stockings which Linda (Willy?s wife) darns and which Willy presents as a gift to Miss Francis, his mistress. They can be seen as a symbol of Willy's career, his self-worth, and a physical representation of his moral character. At home, he has betrayed his wife and son and himself, his life is in crisis, and so the stockings are full of holes. Linda, the loving wife, attempts to mend their life in the same way that she mends holes in the stockings. ?There?s nothing to make up, dear. You?re doing fine, better than-- What?s that? Just mending my stockings. They?re so expensive? I won?t have you mending stockings in my house, now throw them out.? (Willy and Linda 39). Willy is enraged at her mending and orders...