Death of a salesman
Name: Kyran Richard Assing
Form: 6,2 Modern Studies
School: Presentation College San Fernando
Teacher: Ms. Khan (“Death of a Salesman”)
Due: Monday 15th November, 2010
Question: “I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman...” Discuss how Willy’s self-perception affects Willy and his family.
Arthur Miller’s modern drama, “Death of a Salesman” (DOAS), is the tale of common men in pursuit of the elusive “American Dream” in the late 1940’s. Miller uses the protagonist to harshly criticise the selfishness perpetuated through capitalism and the dismal domino effect that it unleashes upon its practitioners; an act that caused him to be labelled a criminal communist. The pejorative effect of the economical system is portrayed through the various modern dramatic techniques, structure and characterisation that Miller employs in his presentation/introspection of Willy and how the American society “eats the orange and throws away the peel.” The “American Dream” is the idea portrayed by the United States of America that any man can come into the country, regardless of race, nationality, level of education or any other disadvantages and be successful through his hard labour and positive thinking. Miller uses the techniques of Realism and Expressionism to best present the American society in the late 1940’s. He depicts the reality of a changing, post-World War II country that has grown hard and callous to the well-being of its citizens and the faults of its financial system of capitalism. Miller combines realism and expressionism to portray Willy to the audience. Expressionism is seen through the use of montage, in which the audience sees overlapping flashback scenes in Willy’s mind and his tenuous grasp on reality. Willy is the embodiment of the modern tragic hero. He is a common man, just as any one of us, and his fatal weakness of pride. He constantly says “Don’t insult me” to many offers of aid. He is on a