Themes {Arthur} Miller Establishes in the Beginning of "Death of a Salesman"

Essay by IBstudentHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

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The beginning of "The Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller has many themes that he has worked into it. Weather apparent or hidden, some of the important themes are tempers, disappointments, irony and capitalism. Miller's uses his writing as a tool for expressing his political views, mainly on the evils of capitalism. He uses irony in many parts of the drama but some of them seem to be recurring and looks like there is only one or two examples. Miller gives the impression that each character's temperament is a direct factor to the amount of disappointments each character has faced.

Miller characterizes his characters well using their tempers and reactions to events to describe them. Willy Loman's temper is one of the most important because he has a short temper and when it is set off Willy tends to initiate dialogues that help to describe the setting of the play among other things.

Willy's temper right from the start indicates that he has a great deal of pent up frustration against the world, or rather against his world. The little niche in the great mass of humanity that he has carved out seems to be inexorably shrinking; closing in on him. He's defenseless to stop being swallowed and overcome by it all. He is scared of the faceless corporations that if so desires can nullify his way of life and being responsible for his family, he wants to extricate them from an inevitable tragic end. The need to succeed drives him to keep working even though he is over sixty. That is why he vents his anger at his son Biff who works as a farmhand. It's ironic that he would want Biff in the same line of work as he although he isn't making much...