"Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller

Essay by AmparoHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2006

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How effectively and by what means has the writer of this dramatic work conveyed the inner lives of the characters?

The play "Death Of a Salesman", by Arthur Miller focuses on the theme of failure in a success oriented society. The playwright's skilful use of a range of dramatic techniques combined with specific language contributes to conveying the inner lives of the characters. These techniques, such as staging, scenery, music, lighting, movement and gesture among others, are crucial to bring across the characters' feelings and thoughts not otherwise expressed verbally.

The tragedy concentrates mostly on Willy Loman, an exhausted middle aged salesman, who has failed to realise his dreams of economic success and is presented as being on the verge of a nervous break down right from the beginning of the play. The importance given to this idea is brought across through the consequences of its failure, which end up drawing Willy to suicide.

The staging of the play; a cross section of Willy's house comes to represent a cross section of his mind, giving the audience the sensation that they can basically witness his thoughts and inner life.

Willy's exhaution is made obvious at the very beginning of the play through his first entrance in the house "his exhaution is apparent", he is "dressed quietly" and "he thankfully lets his burden down". The word "burden", seems to suggest he is selling himself, being something that is emotionally difficult to bear or a source of great worry or stress, once again, also connoting his exhaution.

Willy's instability is portrait through the various simultaneous concurrences of past and present. At certain points, Willy completely detaches himself from his present life and goes back to a past he remembers as better days from all prespectives, namely, familiarly and in terms of...