Death of a Salesman: Critical Essay

Death of a Salesman: Critical Essay
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The hard work of individuals to satisfy their daily routine is normally the norm of the daily life. The society is filled with many evil with competition brewing among most of its misfortunes. There is a tendency by individual to be adventurous in their daily activities with many misfortunes bearing the headlines of their task completion. Willy Loman is the central figure in the play, Death of a salesman by Arthur Miller, and is faced with several tragedies as he is exposed cheating on his wife when travelling on the road. These tragedies are depicted in the scenes that Arthur uses to present new events within the plot of the play. This paper seeks to analyze the events within the tragedy that Willy faces and their contribution to the development of the play.

There is an interplay with the flashback scenes and travels to the current time zones in retracing the steps of the main character. In the first act, several characters are introduced with Arthur depicting Willy as a family man with a wife, Linda and two sons. However, it is not a happy home as they undergo the normal arguing and family tensions that most families experience. This scene was crucial in depicting the happy environment that siblings enjoy when they are recalled to visit their parents. The characters of these individuals are reveled as Happy, one of Willy’s sons is explained as a womanizer. With his many contacts and his business, Willy introduces himself as the salesman who relies to feed his family (Bloom, 115). In the first section, the reader is meant to believe that Willy’s family is normal in operational duties and is not faced with any predicaments. However, when the flashbacks are expressed in the play, there is an image depicted of Willy when Biff exposes his travelling activities.

Biff finds out that his father had been having an affair in Boston but opted to hide it from his family. This is a true reflection of the modern society families as they hold secrets behind their successful images. It would take an unexpected turn in events to be able to reveal the misfortunes within the happy setting. Arthur explains that Willy had lied about his successes in his business venture leading his close allies and family to consider his business fulfilling. His sons had been raised to value hard work and honesty, but the revelations within Arthur’s writings reveal the irony in his teachings. Willy is a cheat and a businessman who is plunged in debts. The plot reveals a difference in character within the two sons with Happy undertaking his father’s trade in business. It can be argued that his character of being a womanizer is a depiction of his father’s practices, as he is revealed as an unfaithful husband to Linda. Biff is the key to revealing Willy’s downfall with a radical confrontation building between the two.

Arthur’s play serves to communicate to the society that, behind every successful story, there is a twist that would depict an ironical situation. Willy is full of enthusiasm in raising his children, but all this while he had been a corrupt and selfish father. Despite his misfortune, he struggles to create a healthy and comfortable lifestyle for his family. These events are a reflection of the American society where there is a boundary created between achieving success and reality in life (Miller, 24). There is no struggle that does not bear painful experiences in achieving happiness (Sterling, 81).


The play ends with a tragedy when Willy decides to commit suicide hence the title death of a salesman (Miller, 46). He had no genuine friends to attend his funeral attended by his brother Charlie and his family. Arthur explains that there arise situations in an individual’s life when, he must put his desires aside to satisfy the family and atones for their mistakes. According to Willy, his actions would lead to an insurance compensation to his family and sparing the shame in the scandal that his life had been based. The book is inspirational as it depicts the harsh reality in the society among struggling families.

Work Cited
Bloom, Harold. Arthur Millers Death of a salesman. New York: Infobase
Publishing, 2007.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. London :
Penguin, 1949.
Sterling, Eric. Arthur Millers Death of a salesman. Amsterdam Area:
Rodopi, 2008.