Death OF A Salesman Essay
Death of a Salesman
The classic and Pulitzer Prize winning drama, Death of a Salesman, has touched many readers and viewers around the world. Its success can be attributed to the quality of the material/story, heartwarming plot that can be based on reality, and the literary devices it applied. The Death of a Salesman is a classic story of a father and son relationship and the unrealistic expectations of parents to the children. It also reflected people’s desire to achieve the American dream and the ways they do to achieve it. Further, it showed the sacrifice that a parent can do for his/her children even if it means taking his/her own life.
Arthur Miller, the author of the Death of a Salesman, used the Plot device of literature in writing and presenting of the story. Literary Devices’s website defined Plot as the sequence of events and happening that builds the story and contains the outcome (Literary Devices, Online). It also noted that the Plot device has three main elements which are the exposition or the introduction of the story, the conflict, and the climax or the peak of the story (Literary Devices, Online).
In the story of the Death of a Salesman, the introduction was the coming of Willy Loman, the father, to home from the office. He experienced a slight car accident. Linda Loman, the wife, suggested to Willy to talk to his boss to let him work in New York near their home due to his condition. Linda was worried about Willy’s health and recent accident. The conflict of the story is Willy Loman’s desire to have tremendous success and realize the American dream. He passes such ambition to his son, Biff Loman, which made him to have unrealistic expectations to himself and to Biff. He expects Biff to follow his footstep as a salesman and become a successful businessman someday. However, Biff excels in sports and is, somewhat, weak in academics. Biff, however, tried to please his father by creating business proposals but none succeeded (Miller, Online).
The climax of the story was when Biff confronted his father and said that he and his father are just a ordinary humans and are not destined for great things. He asked his father to accept him for who is he and told him how much he loves him. Prior to this scene, Willy talked to Biff’s high school friend, who turned to be a lawyer. The high school friend revealed that Biff’s was supposed to do well in a summer class but changed mind after he came from Boston. Willy recalled that time when Biff had a surprise visit to him in his Boston office. Biff discovered that his father had an affair with the receptionist. Willy thought that Biff has already forgiven him after their dramatic confrontation about his acceptance on his failures. He thought that after forgiving him from his affair, Biff can now start a business. He intentionally killed himself through breaking the car so that Biff can get the car insurance to use it for capital. Biff, however, realized in the funeral that he never likes to be a businessman and would not like to follow the way Willy lived his life or his means to achieve the American dream. The end of the story revealed that the Biff’s younger brother, Happy, was the one who wants to be a businessman and follow his father’s footstep (Miller, Online).
Aside from the successful sequence and creating the plot according to its elements, Arthur Miller also used different plot devices. Among these are flashback, poetic justice, and cliff hanger. Arthur Miller applied flashback when Biff’s reminisced during his younger years how his father talked to himself and it is because of his frustrations or inability to achieve his high expectations on himself. The author also used flashback when Willy recalled how Biff’s discovered Willy’s affair with the receptionist in his Boston office (Miller, Online).
Arthur Miller used poetic justice device when Willy got his schizophrenic sickness due to over ambition and high expectations of himself. The author also used the device when Willy killed himself so Biff can have a capital for business (Miller, Online). Through the death of Willy, the author was able to communicate that his way is not the proper means to achieve American dream.
Finally, Arthur Miller used the cliff hanger device in the plot when the end of the story revealed that the younger son, Happy, was the one who likes to pursue business (Miller, Online). However, Willy already died. The ending was hanging and can have a possibility of a sequel, this time, in the person of Happy.
In conclusion, we can say that Arthur Miller effectively used the devices given the material or the story. He was able to communicate the story of a typical family striving for success in a dramatic and heart warming way through the use of flashback and poetic justice. The climax of the story expressed so much emotion and showed the most unforgettable scenes of the story. The sequence of the events remained clear and understandable despite the injection of flashbacks which further gave meaning to the story. Although written in 1950’s, the Death of a Salesman remained a significant literature in the current times given the lessons one can learn from it.
Works Cited Page
Plot. Literary Devices.com. Web. 11 January 2015. http://literary-devices.com/content/plot
Plot definition. Literary Devices.com. Web. 11 January 2015. http://literarydevices.net/plot/
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Pelister.org. Web. 11 January 2015. http://www.pelister.org/literature/ArthurMiller/Miller_Salesman.pdf
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