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Kudler Problem Statement Essay

1099 words - 5 pages

Arthur Miller is recognized as an important and influential playwright, not to mention essayist and novelist. Although he has had plenty of luck in his writing career, his fame is the product of his inventive ability to control what he wants his readers to picture or feel. His intentions when writing ‘Death of a Salesman’ was to help people identify some of the social issues that were growing, in a way that eases the pain they were going through. As one of his critics states, "Miller writes ingeniously, conveying the message that ‘if the proper study of mankind is man, man’s inescapable problem is himself’ (poets 1997). Miller accurately puts into words what every person ...view middle of the document...

In the beginning, Biff agrees with Willy that successfulness is everything. The University of Virginia emblem on his shoes symbolizes his high ambitions; before he and Willy drifted apart.
One scene in the play is when Willy has a flashback of the hotel scene where Biff catches his "faithful" dad with another woman; this is what causes their father-son relationship to weaken. After this point in the play, Biff no longer tries to be "successful" like his father. This symbolizes Willy’s infidelity to the stockings. Because he gives the stocking that are meant for Linda to his mistress, they become a symbol of his infidelity. Every time Willy sees Linda humbly mending her old, torn stockings, he feels guilty for what he has done; therefore, the stockings are also a sign of his guilt and her humbleness. Another symbol relating to family worries is the mortgage on their house. In the hymn, Linda says, "…I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there’ll be nobody home (poets, 1997).” The house symbolized Willy and Linda’s 35-year struggle to own their own home and as soon as the mortgage was finally paid off, no one was left to live in the house. Miller uses these symbols to help the reader understand in depth the conflicts within the Loman family.
Another way in Miller used symbolism was to show conflicts and problems with the society. The setting of Death of a Salesman is a symbol that is society-related. Willy felt that the apartment buildings that surrounded their house was blocking out the sunlight and country atmosphere that the Lomans used to enjoy; this symbolized the feeling of being choked by a society in which they lived in (utexas, 1993). He denies the idea that his life is processed for him, that he is the product of society; in contradiction, critics of the novel state, "Willy Loman is only as solid as the society in which he tries to sell himself (poets, 1997).” A similar symbol is the hammock. The hammock that once swung in their back yard represented the earlier carefree society of when Willy and Linda first bought their house. Another symbol reflecting society was the fountain pen that Biff attempted to...

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