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Death of a Salesman


1 Setting 2 Character 3 Style 4 Structure 5 Theme Death of a Salesman Death of a Salesman Setting Where and when is the play set? America in the twentieth century ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Death of a Salesman

1 Setting
2 Character
3 Style
4 Structure
5 Theme
Death of a Salesman
Where and when is the play set? America in the
twentieth century important for the characters
and their dreams. What impact does society have
on the Loman family? Lomans live in a consumer
society where buying/selling/money are key
issues. This influences goals and dreams. Stage
directions are crucial to understanding the
importance of setting. Read through the stage
directions and make notes on the key quotations.
E.g Willys house is small and surrounded by
towering, angular buildings. This suggests that
society is progressing around Willy and he is
not, both in work and professionally. What then
is the impact of the closing stage
directions? Willys house is symbolic of his
success his goal is to pay off his mortgage. How
does Miller hint about this through setting and
stage directions? There are two realms which we
can consider as different settings reality and
the imaginary world. How does the audience know
the difference between the two?
Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman
The Woman
Miss Forsythe
Howard Wagner
Uncle Ben
Death of a Salesman
In any question you will have to discuss style.
You could mention Dramatic techniques such
as Characterisation, Dialogue,Imagery,
Symbolism. Theatrical techniques, such as Real
and imaginary realms, music, flash backs.
Death of a Salesman
In any essay you will be expected to comment on
You could mention Acts, Requiem(as Epilogue) and
Are there any incidents which are made more
dramatic because of what happens immediately
before or after? e.g. in Act One, Willys line
youre the best there is, LindaI want to grab
you sometimes and kiss the life outa you. is
juxtaposed(put next to) with the revelation Willy
has been unfaithful in the past.
Death of a Salesman
You will be expected to comment on theme in the
exam. What are the main themes of Death of a
Salesman? Themes suggested by you Dreams
Failure False Hopes Loss Regret Identity Falseho
od Denial Being trapped Isolation
Death of a Salesman
Dreams and Failure
An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream
rising out of reality. Act One What are the main
characters dreams? Are they obtainable? What
is ironic about the conclusion? What evidence is
there to support your ideas?
Some examples WILLY Figure it out. Work a
lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it
and theres nobody to live in it. Biff says in
Act One Ive always made a point of not wasting
my life, and everytime I come back here I know
that all Ive done us to waste my life. Happy
says in the Requiem Willy Loman did not die in
vain. He had a good dream. Its the only dream
you can have - to come out number one man.
Biff says of Willy
Hes got no characterAct One The man dont know
who we are. Act Two
Link to Character
Does Willy know his sons? Do they know him? How
do the characters want to be identified? Find
Here are some to get you started. Biff I stopped
in the middle of that building and I saw - the
sky. I saw the things I love in this world. The
work and food and time to sit and smoke. Act
Two Linda Why must everyone conquer the world?
Youre well liked, and the boys love you Act
Two Willy I realized that selling was the
greatest career a man could want. Act Two
Willy Loman
Self deluded- boasts about his success in work
they dont need me in New York. Im the New
England man. Im vital in New England page
4. Disappointed in Biff - Biff is a lazy bum.
How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a
life? A farm hand. Not finding yourself at the
age of 34 is a disgrace page 5 Proud He is
offered a job but refuses What the hell are
you offering me a job for? pg 28 Contradictory
He says his car is good and then bad
Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever
built. Pg 21 that goddamn Chevrolet, they ought
to prohibit the manufacture of that car.
Pg22 Trapped the way they box us in here
bricks and windows, windows and bricks pg 6
Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman
Willy Loman
Death of a Salesman
Imagery and Symbolism
Miller uses lots of imagery in his dialogue and
stage directions. Try to analyse the following,
then click for answers. Act one, 1.- there is an
angry glow Willy is described as having a
mercurial nature Willys house is dwarfed by
the tower-blocks around.(Opening stage
directions) 2. WillyThe world is an oyster but
you dont crack it open on a matress. Act Two 3.
Linda ..But hes only a little boat looking for
a harbour. 4. cant eat the orange
and throw the peel away-a man is not a piece of
fruit! 5.Nothings planted. I dont have a
thing in the ground. 6. Theyve boxed in the
whole goddam neighbourhood. Look through your
notes and plays for more examples.
Death of a Salesman
Imagery and Symbolism - Analysis
1. angry glow personification lighting
indicates the built up, it is angry because there
is a element of ruthlessness to get by in
business. mercurial nature metaphor for
hot-tempered nature like mercury, the element in
thermometers Willys house being dwarfed
symbolises his lack of progression. 2. Metaphor
indicates Willys perception that there are lots
of opportunities which you get through hard work
I.e. not by sleeping. 3.Metaphor for Willy
comparison to small boat in stormy seas he is
distressed and in serious trouble looking for
safety. 4. Metaphor. Willy is reacting to be cast
aside by the company he has served for years.
Ironic because you do throw skin away, just as he
is now useless to company. 5. Metaphor ties in
with nature/business dichotomy.Willy refers to
future plans and savings he has no back up
plan. 6. Metaphor suggests that possibilities are
curbed in this society. Willy cant do anything
and isnt progressing unlike his surroundings.
  • There are many opposites/dichotomies which link
    setting and theme. Look at the following.
  • Explain the link to setting and theme?
  • Find any other examples in the play? You might
    think about failure/success, reality/dreams.
  • 1.Nature versus the built-up area
  • WILLY Theyve boxed in the whole goddam
    neighbourhood.(Act Two)
  • WILLY Theres no question, no question at all.
    Gee, on the way home tonight Id like to buy some
  • LINDA Laughing Thatd be wonderful. But not
    enough sun gets back there. Nothingll grow any
  • WILLY You wait, kid,before its all over were
    gonna get a little place out in the country, and
    Ill raise some vegetables, and a couple of
    chickens (ACT TWO)
  • 2. Consumer society versus self-reliance
  • HAPPY..But then, its all I wanted. My own
    apartment, a car, and plenty of women. And
    still, godammit, Im lonely. (Act One)
  • WILLY Oh, Id better hurry. Ive got to get
    some seedsIve got to get some seeds, right
    away. Nothings planted. I dont have a thing
    in the ground. (Act Two)

Death of a Salesman