Good morning teachers and students ???Good drama entertains, involves and challenges the responder??? Arthur Miller author of ???Death of a salesman??? achieves this through the use of various techniques such as mobile concurrency and irony. The play is also based on the theme of the American dream. This play tells a sad story of a man who was too proud to admit that he was a failure. This man was Willy Loman a lower class salesman. Willy creates a world of illusion to help him to continue with the daily difficults of living. He spent his life trying desperately to convince himself, and others, that he was successful and ???well liked??? until the day he died. In the last act of Millers play is where the sad truth of Willy Lomans existence is revealed to the audience and the Loman family. The last act serves as a place where Miller paints a picture of Willys death as an ironic end to his tragic life.
Willys friend and niegbour Charley says an important speech durring Willys funeral which is vital to understanding Willy as a tragic character because Charley takes the blame away from Willy for his death .???Nobody dast blame this man???, are the opening words to Charley??™s speech that depicts Willy Loman as a product of his environment and a victim of his profession.He explains that the life of a salesman is an upward struggle to sell himself, ???riding on a smile and shoe shine…when the customers start not smiling back-thats an earthquake…and youre finished.???Here Charley is alluding to Willys inability to separate the personal from the professional.Willy took his professional rejections personally and it was a blow to his character.Willy wanted so desperately to be liked that he convinced himself that he was liked so he would be able to continue on with his life and his career.It is important that the audience sees Willys delusions as a coping mechanism to deal with his personal failures, and therefore takes pity on him.If the audience blames him for his death then his death is not viewed as a tragedy.
Miller continues to drive the sympathy out of the audience when Willys oldest son, Biff, gives his analysis of his fathers life.Biff comes to a realization at the end of the play that his father lived a life of illusion, ???He never knew who he was.???Willy spent so much time believing in the false promises of wealth and popularity that the life of a salesman could bring that he never took the time to realize that he really enjoyed working with his hands, ???…There??™s more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.???Biff implies that his father wasted his life as an unsuccessful salesman saying that ???he has all the wrong dreams???. He should have spent his life in a profession that he was good at and that he could take pride in instead of wasting his life trying to reach unattainable goals as an unsuccessful salesman.The tragedy behind this is that Willy wasted so much of his life being mentally invested in the idea of the American dream to be successful and not have to worry about money that he was to blinded to see any other alternatives.
Willy has various flashbacks of his life throughout the play which makes it seem like you are viewing a lifetime when in fact the play only runs over the last 24 hours of his life, this technique is called mobile currency.There are many aspects of Willy??™s death that are both tragic and ironic such as the attendance of Willy??™s funeral.Before Willy??™s death he had a conversation with a vision of his older brother Ben on which Willy described the motives behind his suicde.Willy wanted to prove to his son Biff once and for all how well known and respected he was. ???Ben, that funeral will be massive! They??™ll come from ME, MA, VT and NH…that boy will be thunderstruck, Ben, because he never realized ??“ I am known!???Will envisioned his final triumph where he could finally prove his worth to his family, and the only way that he could do that would be in death. Ironically, no one attends his funeral expect for his family and Charley. Instead of his funeral being his final triumph it is his final humiliation. The absence of people at the funeral shows to the Loman??™s and the audience that Willy??™??™s entire life was an illusion.Sadly, even Willy himself did not realize the stupidness in his views of fame and success.
Another ironic twist on the death of Willy Loman is the fact that he took his own life because he thought that he would be more financially beneficial to his family if he was dead. Willy foreshadows his suicide during his final conversation with Charley when he says, ???After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.???Willy truly believes that he is doing what is best for his family by taking his own life, in his eyes his twenty thousand dollar insurance policy will be worth more to his family than his own life. He envisions that the money will go to his son Biff and he will be able to become the successful man that Willy always knew he would be. Willy says ???imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket.???Ironically in the end the audience realize that Willy??™s death was in vain because his son, Biff, does not get the insurance money because suicide was not covered in his policy. His death also convinces his other son Happy, to follow on his father??™s footsteps toward an unrealistic dream of unattainable goals.
Willy??™s wife Linda also plays a role in the irony in the last act. Linda has a moment alone with Willy??™s grave telling him, ???I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there??™ll be nobody home.???Ironically Willy kills himself just before he is ???Free and clear ???of debt. There is also another ironic piece to Linda??™s final words to her husband. She says to him, ???Why did you do it I search and search and I search, and I can??™t understand it, Willy.???This is ironic because throughout the play Linda is the only person that loves Willy unconditionally for who he is, but in reality she has no idea who he is at all. Linda never let herself understand Willy??™s psychological problems; therefore the only thing she can think of for his suicide is their financial burden.
The final chapter of Willy??™s life is where, for the first time, the harsh realities of his life are revealed. Sympathy is pulled from the audience and reasons for Willy??™s behaviour are given. Willy cannot be blamed for his actions because he was merely a salesman that was so far sold on the idea of the American Dream that he was incapable of seeing his life for what it really was, even in his final moments.Willy died just as deluded as he lived. And that is how good drama entertains, involves and challenges the responder……..thankyou