Death of a Salesman Critical Essay
Plays are compared to live theatres, where actors portray the message in real time and get to interact with the audience who happen to watch their play. Actors can change their performance to match the audience expectations and reactions. For instance, cheering from the audience can give the actors the energy and the confidence they need on the stage; giving the most outstanding performances. In a play, it is possible to view how actors undergo three-dimensional change without video tricks, presenting a creative theatre work full of artistic styles. This paper is a response on the performance of the play “Death of a sales Man”
Death of a sales man is a play about the Loman’s, a common family in America based in New York. Auther Miller is the playwright who won a Pulitzer Prize for this play in 1949. The film as directed by Mr Kramer depicts themes of career failure, adultery, family tensions, and suicide. Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman) is an old man, now 63 who has not succeeded in life despite his big ambitions and an American dream of making as much money as possible. The shocking news of loosing his salary and work only on commissions, which he has held onto for 34 years hit him hard. Willy is devastated that he cannot meet his family bills now. His belief that “well-liked” and “Personally attractive” characters succeed in life has seeped to one of his son Biff who is a failure like his father. Biff (John Malkovich) is bitter with his father because of a dark secret he discovered a while ago and he is unable to forgive him. He has tried a number of jobs and businesses, which did not seem quite successful and has returned home.
Willy’s wife Linda (Kate Reid) acts the role of a longsuffering life and a perfect mate for Willy who needs such a character beside him. She has tried to reconcile Biff to his father but the two have deep hatred for one another. Linda is Willy’s counsellor who loves his husband despite the infidelity issues of the past. Happy, the second some of Willy is a successful businessperson who has beat the odds and made it in life. However, he is a man who loves attention and will do anything funny like scream after sneezing to attract attention. Charley (Charles Darning) plays the role of Willy’s friend offering him a job after he looses one but he refused, opting to go to a far away land and borrow money to cater for his family needs. Willy has gone out of his mind and all that matters now is that he commits suicide to have his family get the insurance money. Biffs desire to forgive his father will not deter him from what he has decided to do.
Theatrically, this play has good artistic features. For instance, different lighting used to unfold a new scene is quite moving. One would not help but scream at the onset of a new scene. The background noise chosen for every scene depicts a careful selection in accordance to the message of the minute. In addition, this play is full of suspense that leaves one wanting to know what happens next or how it will end. Costumes and different attires worn by actors go with the characterisation in question. Compared to the new theatre, the old theatre look a bit lost in style and elegance. Looking at the play the modesty of an American employed person or businessperson is lacking in comparison to today’s lifestyle.
The outstanding performance of all the characters in this play really moves any audience. Every detail of the play actualised to the letter. The voices of players are audible even when they change it to represent sorrow, confusion, anger, or tension. Dustin Hoffman, taking the role of Willy does it so well like he is already 63 although he is in his forties. His performance is magnetic presenting Willy as a man whose bomb of frustration has just exploded due to great ambitions unachieved at his elderly age. John is the best actor presenting Biff as the bad son of Willy who followed his father beliefs to the letter only to receive great disappointments. The best character in this play Linda presents a real tragedy of a woman who loves unconditionally and bears the agony of seeing her son and husband turn into failures as playwright Auther had intended. Some scenes in this play are quite emotional and one cannot help but cry as scenes unfold.
This play represents a group of Americans who live in mediocrity and end in shambles after their ambitions fails to take them to the kinds of lives they desired. Young persons can identify with it either in their lives or in their interest to join the art industry. The play is quite educative to all levels of life.