Experiencing, Interpreting, And Evaluating Arthur Miller’s “Death Of A Salesman

941 words - 4 pages

Death of a Salesman is a play about a man named Willy Loman who is an aging sales man that has difficulty remembering events, as well as distinguishing the present from his memories. Willy has always tried to live up to the “American Dream,” but unfortunately has failed miserably as a salesman and a father. Willy still having high hopes of the dream tries to live his life through his oldest son Biff, who has turned out to be just as big as a failure. Biff uncovers the truth behind his father’s lies and Willy being tormented by his failures starts to spiral downward. The thoughts of having failed as a salesman and father finally lead Willy to take his own life. In order to understand a play like this one you need to use a strategy in approaching it. One valid approach to any type of literature is to experience, interpret, and evaluate it.
Experiencing a play means to allow it to make an impression for the reader, for him or her to observe the characters and create emotions, get a better understanding of the situation that is occurring in the play, and allows the readers to form opinions. Many times during the play we come to realize that Willy drifts in and out of flashbacks. Most of these occur during the period when Biff was in high school, and foreshadow the events of the present. For example, in one of the flashbacks, Biff “borrows” a football from the locker room and is told by Willy, “Coach will probably congratulate you on your initiative.” Obviously, Willy tries to justify Biff’s behavior in addition to his own. In the same flashback Willy asks Biff, “What do they say about you in school, now that they made you captain?” Willy proudly hears that Biff has a crowd of followers, and is well on his way to becoming well-liked and successful. The reason Willy tries to maintain the idea of success is to not disappoint his boys who admire him. He wants the best for Biff and Happy and hopes that their lives will be better than his.
Interpreting a play means to read and pay attention to details, focus on specific parts of the play that have meaning, link your ideas together and form a conclusion of what the play means to you. We notice that during the play, Willy loses touch with himself. In one scene, he mentions that Chevrolet is “the greatest car ever built,” only to say later that “they ought to prohibit the manufacture of that car.” Willy is an elderly man with a slowing mind who has trouble remembering what he truly believes. When he does have moments of heartbreaking reality, Linda does her best to boost his spirits. Willy painfully realizes that people do not seem to like him very much, but Linda...

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