Modest house in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout the play, the audience is visually aware of a gap between past and present:
Arthur Miller is a distinctive dramatist in his own right, with extensive uses of dramatic elements in his plays, such as sound, particular attention to stage settings, and his dialogues.
Critics have noted the impact of his relatively simple use of language for his dialogues, with no grandiose wordplay whatsoever- in its simplicity lies its beauty. Another aspect of his plays is the profound use of surreal elements, which form a beautiful symbiotic relationship with the realistic parts of the play, as if holding some semblance of delicate balance, on the verge of dangerously tipping.
There are quite a few analytical aspects to this piece of work, and the one this paper will explore, is the grand debate on its central character.
Various critics have remarked on the fragile nature of Willy Loman primarily believed to be the protagonist of the play by many and given evidence and personal opinions as to why he may not be the central character after all.
Willy Loman is a salesman, a middle class salesman in the drama, and the play revolves around him as he tries to justify and make sense of his existence to the cruel and unappreciative society. He does that through various devices- mainly through his sons, and through the surreal appearance of Ben, his dead, successful the American dream definition of it brother.
Linda is another character which makes an impact in her own right- the quiet force, the glue that holds the family together, the wife of Willy Loman. Happy, the elder son is generally excluded from this debate as his character does not really influence any action- it is him, rather, who gets influenced by the judgments and whims of other characters.
This paper will attempt to deconstruct some of the aspects of these characters, and try and provide evidence for justifying who the central character is, and hopefully arrive at a concrete conclusion.
Firstly, the character of Willy Loman will be under scrutiny. Naturally, many have deviated from that character profile.
Willy Loman is quite the sore thumb in this line of thought. His character thoroughly lacks all the hallmarks of any sort of elevated position.
But in this anomaly of his lies his greatness- his ambitions, his dreams. His inability to fulfill those dreams is sadly, his tragic flaw, and ultimately, his desire to manifest those dreams around him results in his downfall.
By contrast, a protagonist who cannot be alone, who cannot summon the intelligence and strength to scrutinize his condition and come to some understanding of it-whatever agony it may cost him-seems disqualified for the tragic stature literature can bestow.
This is perhaps what makes Loman such a feasible protagonist, and such an appealing one as far as literary appreciation is concerned. Loman is the force that moves the events in the play, the one that is responsible for its volatility.
He drags the entire family into the quagmire of his decisions, and attempts to influence their lives to attain satisfaction, as he seems resigned to his fate.
His anger bursts, however, are shown to be quite hollow when he interacts with people outside the sphere of his house, displaying further disconnection to society. For by entering the dark, unknown "jungle" of death Loman might bring out tangible wealth, "like diamonds," thus becoming as much an adventurer as Ben but within the skyscraper world of New York.
He imagines himself then having a funeral as massive as Singleman's, one that would leave Biff "thunderstruck. Biff knows that all these momentary achievements are extremely fickle in nature, and wants his father to realize that. The light of their room begins to fade. BIFF to himself in bed: Willy Loman does the same for his favorite son, often seen fondly speaking about him and praising him for the smallest things.
This very nature of his tends to bring out the agitated nature of his father, often leading to sudden conflicts. This analysis leads to one realization- Biff is more than suitable for the candidate of the protagonist.
Like a young god. Hercules — something like that. And the sun, the sun all around him. Remember how he waved to me? Right up from the field, with the representatives of three colleges standing by?
And the buyers I brought, and the cheers when he came out — Loman, Loman, Loman!Death of a Salesman study guide contains a biography of Arthur Miller, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Death of a Salesman is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Analysis of the central character in Death of a Salesman. Explore Willy Loman's childhood, his affair, and his relationships. 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 works often tend to portray American middlemen as heroes, bitterly and futilely fighting against the entire system of what “Americanism” is, .
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 works often tend to portray American middlemen as heroes, bitterly and futilely fighting against the entire system of what “Americanism” is, .
See a complete list of the characters in Death of a Salesman and in-depth analyses of Willy Loman, Biff Loman, Happy Loman, and Linda Loman and Charley.