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Literature & Language
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Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller (Essay Sample)

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in about 1000 words, write an essay based on the need for an individual to validate his existence and value as a man in the play Death of a Salesman; Arthur Miller.

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English
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Death of a Salesman; Arthur Miller
Arthur miller is an enfamed and one of the most established playwrights of the postwar era in America. It was with the casting of his play The Death of a Salesman that saw Miller hit the limelight as one of America’s profound dramatists. The play was set at an era when America was under economic pressure due to the great Depression. It is based on the need for an individual to validate his existence and value as a man. It highlights the unspoken demands of an idealistic society and how pressurizing these demands can be on a man. The play goes ahead to reveal a cycle of how this pressure to meet the standards of validation in order to achieve success affects a man and remains rooted in his generations. In a society that judges the success of a man by placing a scale on his material wealth, to what lengths can one go and at what cost?
Miller in his play highlights the story of a man, Willy Logan and his famiy.Willy seeks to validate himself as a successful man and seeks to have society place him on a pedestal. He ascertains himself as a man who is of great importance to the development of New Engalnd. They don’t need me in New York. I’m the New England man. I’m vital in New England. "Growing up under the shadows of a father and elder brother who curved their own place in society by attaining material wealth, Willy finds himself under pressure to follow suit and earn his mark of success in society. The pressure is so great that Willy Logan reaches a point of self-denial and chooses to relapse back to the past.
Willy’s fear of failure and mental need to establish himself as a man of worth, and desperate need for success leads him to dire anxiety and depression. This is seen through his multiple suicide attempts. He escapes it through self-denial though .He insists on sticking to his ideas of success and noveriety though in reality he is a mediocre salesman. Logan is hell bent on sticking to his American dream at the expense of reality. His denial is so great that he relapses into the past in an effort to avoid reality. In reality he is not a well-known success. The past offers Willy a more comforting security and idea of success and is more orderly than the disorder in his present life.
Miller further goes on to show how the inadequacies of one man can be passed on to a generation .The sins of a father passed on to a son. Willy imposes his philosophies and the idealism of the American dream on his sons Biff and Happy. The two sons grow up in the mist of their father’s denial and identity crisis. Willy believes his sons are the embodiment of promise and are meant to amount to something big and earn a successful place in society. He imposes his ideals and philosophies on his son Biff. Biff views his father as a man of stature and shares in his ideals and dreams until he stumbles over the shocking realization that then man he places on a pedestal is not really the man he thinks he is.
In the moments of seeking validation and value, Willy neglects the essential foundations of what’s important, his family. He cheats on his wife and his son Biff finds out. This leads to the beginning of an estranged relationship between father and son. Biff drops out of summer school. He views his father [in new light. To Biff, Willy is a failure, a man with no respect fort family. An exact case of preaching water while drinking wine. He is not so sure of his goal in life or whether indeed he can amount to anything he so wished…..a philosophy of his father.
Miller further goes on to show the extent to which a dream cherished so dearly to a point of infatuation can lead to disintegration. While Willy relapses to a past in a bid to escape the frustrations of his immediate life, an estranged relationship with a son who he thought would be his salvation abounds. He is apparently happy that his second son, who is a chip of the old block, chooses to avoid reality by editing facts and bending the truth. Willy loses his job as his employer views him as a liability to the company. Around him, Willy sees others achieving the American dream. A neighbor; whose son Bernard, Willy always viewed as a nerd is a prominent lawyer. His sons are a disappointment who seem not to amount to anything.
Miller tries to draw his audience into sympathizing with the man whose only mistake was being a dreamer? Who is to blame for dreams not actualized? The mistakes of a man who is cornered by a society that pressurizes him to follow in the footsteps of his lineage and places emphasis on the hollow value of material wealth
Linda Logan is the dutiful wife who is aware of the disintegration of her family. She watches her husband lapse into psychological depression as a result of the disparity of his life and dreams. She however chooses to protect the sanity of her husband by treating his lapses as the truth at the expense of a son who is bent on living life diffe...
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