Themes in Death of a Salesman

Essay by girl40High School, 12th gradeA, August 2014

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

A theme is a repeated thought or idea that authors will present their audience with in their literary work. This repeated thought or idea may be deep, difficult to understand or even moralistic. Many authors utilize the characters, plot and other literary devices to assist the readers understand the theme. In "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller, many themes are presented to the readers throughout the play. In Miller's play, the American Dream is the major theme, with honesty, abandonment, and betrayal as minor themes. Themes are always present in a writer's literary work, and can be presented through several ways.

Firstly, a minor theme present in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" is honesty. Throughout the play, there are a lot of dishonest words and actions. There is a lot of lying, cheating and stealing. Three characters that generally are dishonest throughout the play are Biff, Happy and Willy.

Biff is caught stealing throughout the play many times, some being flashbacks to when he was younger. From the past to present, Biff has stole a football, basketballs, a fountain pen from Bill Oliver and building materials. Biff doesn't realize that his stealing is something incorrect as he was always praised for his thefts by his father Willy. Thus his stealing continued as he grew up and still continues. Happy admits for taking bribes, and doesn't see that there is anything wrong with it. Happy acts like it is a game, and leaves the audience to wonder how he developed such an attitude. Happy also does sexual acts with many girls and takes after his father. "Like I'm not suppost to take bribes. Manufacturers offer me a hundred-dollar bill now and then to throw an order their way. You know how honest I...