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Death of a Salesman Critical insights Essay

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❶Scene 7 Act II:

How did Willy’s brother Ben make his fortune?

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Although these trees merely seem to distract Willy from driving, he also indicates their connection to dreaming. He complains to Linda about the apartment houses surrounding the Loman home: Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When Biff and I hung the swing between them? Throughout the entire play, trees—and all the other images connected to them—are complicated symbols of an idyllic past for which Willy longs in his dreams, a world where Biff and Hap are young, where Willy can believe himself a hot-shot salesman, where Brooklyn seems an unspoiled wilderness.

Throughout the play, Miller significantly expands upon the figurative meaning of trees. Where are you guys, where are you? The woods are burning! We realize that since Willy is so associated with his dreams, he will die when they burn. Once aware of how tree images operate in the play, a reader or keen theatergoer can note the cacophony of other references that sustain the metaphor in other scenes. Miller similarly uses boxing in literal and figurative ways throughout the play.

Hap responds to Biff with the first sports reference in the text: Sometimes I want to just rip my clothes off in the middle of the store and outbox that goddam merchandise manager. As an athlete, Biff, it seems, should introduce the sports metaphor, but, ironically, the sport with which he is identified—football—is not used in any extensive metaphoric way in the play. Thus Hap expresses his frustration at being a second-rate worker by stressing his physical superiority over his managers.

Unable to win in economic competition, he longs to beat his coworkers in a physical match, and it is this contrast between economic and physical competition that intensifies the dramatic interplay between the literal and the figurative language of the play. In fact, the very competitiveness of the American economic system in which Willy and Hap work, and that Biff hates, is consistently put on physical terms in the play.

A failure in the competitive workplace, Hap uses the metaphor of physical competition—boxing man to man—yet the play details how Hap was considered less physically impressive than Biff when the two were boys.

As an adult, Hap competes in the only physical competition he can win—sex. Perhaps knowing that they cannot win, the Lomans resort to a significant amount of cheating in competition: The boxing metaphor also illustrates the contrast between Biff and Hap. Boxing as a sports metaphor is quite different from the expected football metaphor: Thus the difference between Biff and Hap—Hap as evoker of the boxing metaphor and Biff as a player of a team sport—is emphasized throughout the text.

Moreover, the action of the play relies on the clash of dreams between Biff and Willy. Yet Hap, the second-rate son, the second-rate physical specimen, the second-rate worker, is the son who is most like Willy in profession, braggadocio, and sexual swagger. For example, Biff ironically performs a literal boxing competition with Ben, which juxtaposes with the figurative competition of the play.

Yet Biff is defeated by Ben; in reality he is ill prepared to fight a boxing match because it is a man-to-man competition, unlike football, the team sport at which he excelled. Thus the literal act of boxing possesses figurative significance. Willy, too, uses a significant amount of boxing imagery, much of it quite violent.

Willy uses these violent physical terms against men he perceives as challengers and competitors. As with the tree metaphor, this one is sustained throughout the scenes with a plethora of boxing references: Miller also uses images, symbols, and metaphors as central or unifying devices by employing repetition and recurrence—one of the central tenets of so-called cluster criticism, which was pioneered in the s and s.

These clusters of words can operate both literally and figuratively in a text—as I. Richards notes in The Philosophy of Rhetoric—and, therefore, contribute significantly to the overall aesthetic and thematic impact. The first is a literal use: In both instances, Willy is asserting his superiority on the basis of his physical prowess, a point that is consistently emphasized in the play. Hap says to Letta: Willy defines masculinity by painting a ceiling, but Hap defines it by painting the town with sexual debauchery and revelry, lording his physical superiority and his sexual conquests over other men.

The third, fourth, and fifth repetitions occur in act 2 during the imagining in the hotel room when Biff discovers Willy with the woman. When the woman comes out of the bathroom, Willy says: They must be finished painting by now. Here, painting is simultaneously literal and metaphorical because of its previous usage in the play—but with a high degree of irony. He actually derived the name from a movie he had seen, The Testament of Dr.

Abbotson has noted how the first name of The Ride Down Mt. She also has analyzed the similarities between Loman and Lyman, and has argued that Lyman is a kind of alter ego to Willy some forty years later. Biff uses the boy Frank and his companions to clean the furnace room and hang up the wash—chores that he should be doing himself. Of course, all this business dishonesty emphasizes how Salesman challenges the integrity of the American work ethic.

Thus, in his choice of names, Arthur Miller may very well be manipulating his audience before the curtain rises, as they sit and read the cast of characters in their playbills. Engle explains the metaphor of law used by the lawyer Quentin in After the Fall. Lawrence Rosinger, in a brief Explicator article, traces the metaphors of royalty that appear in Death of a Salesman.

In his new authorized biography Arthur Miller: Most notable among these works are the following: Notes on the Past and Future of American Theater. When Biff discovers Willy with the woman in the hotel room in act 2, she refers to herself as a football to indicate her humiliating treatment by Willy and, perhaps, all men. Frederick Charles Kolbe, Caroline F. Spurgeon, and Kenneth Burke pioneered much of this criticism. For example, Spurgeon did groundbreaking work in discovering the clothes imagery and the image of the babe in Macbeth.

I Am Willy Loman! Works Cited Abbotson, Susan C. The Salesman Forty Years On. University Press of America, The Philosophy of Literary Form. Louisiana State UP, Kaplan, Justin, and Anne Bernays. Willy remembers the days when he could sell enough to provide for his family, buy luxury items, and even keep a mistress. Willy traveled everywhere selling his wares and living life as he viewed it should be.

Unfortunately Willy lived to see the world around him change and pass him by. As Willy grew older he lost his ability to travel to any place and sell anything. Willy began to see the loss of his beloved lifestyle and the onset of bills and debt just to survive. Slowly this change from the ideal to the real took its toll on Willy. As a traveling sales man, Willy spends much time driving great distances in his car. After arriving home early from a highly unsuccessful sales trip, Willy berates his car and blames it for his inability to bring home enough money to pay outstanding bills.

Willy rationalizes to himself that if the car had only been reliable, his trip would have been much more successful and he would have been better liked. This rationale holds no water considering that the few weeks Willy This research report examines various characters in each of these works. Both the film and novel are explored and Ivan in Tolstoy' Free will, on the other hand, speaks to the concept of having full authority over ones aspirations and ultimate direction, reflect Net-savvy that instead of a generation gap, theres a "generation lap" in which older generations feel threatened by the N-Gens fac This 9 page paper examines the way in which three different directors approach Shakespeare.

It looks at Kenneth Branagh's producti

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The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper. Death of a Salesman encompasses two.

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Essays and criticism on Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - Critical Evaluation.

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Critical Essays Major Themes in Death of a Salesman Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List The play is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments, all of which make up the last 24 hours of Willy Loman's life. CRITICAL ANALYSIS-DEATH OF A SALESMAN -ARTHUR MILLER Arthur Miller (Oct Feb ) was, in all probability, one of the greatest playwrights of contemporary history He is also one of the greatest critics of contemporary American society, as his .

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Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Also, he explained that much of Death of a Salesman and all of The Crucible were originally written in verse; the one-act version of A View from the Bridge () was written in an intriguing mixture of verse and prose, and Miller regretted his failure to do the same in The American Clock () (Bigsby, Critical Introduction ).