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Death of a Salesman

← Henrik Ibsen’s Doll’s HouseHistory of Literacy →

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Many stylistic devices have been employed in this play. The Plot as a stylistic device will be the main focus of this paper. The author has used various characters settings and actions to bring out a tragic plot in that it combines the appropriate emotions of pity and fear. The main characters comprise of a person who is morally excellent, (Linda), an average person (Happy) and a bad person (Willy and Bliff)

Miller introduces the play with the main character Willy Loman when he arrives at home tired after a business trip fails to materialize. Another character Linda, his wife is bothered with his state of mind of his husband is introduced almost immediately. Linda requests Howard Wagner, his husband’s boss, to give him a transfer to their home city to reduce his travels.  A third character, Bliff is introduced as his father Willy expresses dissatisfaction to Linda regarding their son’s lack of breakthrough in life. Bliff excelled in athletes when doing his O-level but failed in mathematics and refused to go to college. The theme of betrayal comes out clearly as Willy feels that he is a part of those who have betrayed the ambitions of their son Bliff.

A conflict is introduced in the play when Happy, Bliff’s brother visits and they both hark back to their childhood days together. They deliberate about their father’s state of mind that “they observed him talk to himself and experience frequent vacillations.” Willy comes in and starts complaining that the two young men have nothing to show off. In an attempt to pacify their dad, Bliff informs him that he had intended develop a business plan the following day. This brings up abandonment as a theme. Willy is in great despair because he has been abandoned by his immediate relations.

The play reaches its climax when the next day proves to be unsuccessful to both Willy and Bliff. Willy fails to persuade his boss to offer him a job in his hometown while Bliff’s business plan does not go through. Instead of heeding to his appeal, the boss decides to fire Willy and tells him to his face that he “requires to rest himself because he is no longer fit to transact business on behalf of the company.” This portrays another case of abandonment on the part of Willy and worse of it is when he is turned down by his former employer.  Bliff decides to filch a fountain pen. Later Willy visits Charley’s office. Here, he bumps on his former friend Bernard who is at the moment, is a renowned lawyer. Bernard informs Willy that, “initially, Bliff wanted to excel in high school but his dreams were cut short when he visited him in Boston.” Bliff is therefore no longer at a position of attaining the American dream. The author portrays another theme of The American Dream.

That evening Bliff, Happy and Willy have an evening meal at a restaurant. However, Willy does not allow himself to hear the sad news from Bliff.  On surveying the air around them, Happy convinces Bliff to lie to his father. Bliff refuses to abide by his brother’s advice and goes on to tell him what happened on that particular day. The sad news angers Willy so much forcing him to flashback the events of that particular day in Boston. The American dream as a theme is again shown when Bliff caught his father red handed with a young woman in a hotel room. Willy did such a thing because he believed that he is a “well liked” and a “personally attractive” man who could achieve all comforts he needed as offered by contemporary American life. From that day, his attitude towards his father changed for the worse while at the same time made him care free.

The play reaches a falling action when Bliff and Happy together with their girls walks out of the restaurant in protest. Willy on the other hand, is left a disappointed and confused man. The author brings Willy out as a character who is in a course of abandonment. They later go back at home where they are confronted by their sad mother for abandoning their father behind. Bliff walks to his father to iron out their differences. They are unable to reconcile but instead argue even more.

The play hits a dramatic turn of events when the conflict between Bliff and his father is resolved with the former hugging the latter and sobbing as he attempts to make him forget the unachievable dreams that he still harbors for him and that he should instead take him for who he is. Bliff then informs his father how much he adores him.

Willy does not pay attention to what his son tells him, he instead thinks that since Bliff has “forgiven him, and that he will follow his dream to become a successful businessman.” Willy betrays his son and opts to commit suicide in a road accident to enable Bliff get enough capital to commence his own business. Nonetheless, in his father’s burial, Bliff still has his conviction that becoming a businessman is not among his dreams while his brother opts to become like their father.

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