Motifs In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

669 Words3 Pages
In Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, many motifs and symbols were embedded within the text to convey deeper meaning beyond what is literally happening. The most important motif is using foreign lands, like Alaska, Africa and the American West, to portray missed opportunity. It calls to question the benefits of living a “typical” American lifestyle like the Lomans’ live. Willy Loman’s father became rich off of living in Alaska, an adventurous lifestyle, the exact opposite of what Willy was achieving as a New England salesman, a seemingly safer life choice. However, Willy regrets never going to Alaska. WILLY. Oh, yeah, my father lived many years in Alaska. He was an adventurous man. we’ve got quite a little streak of self reliance in…show more content…
However, he meets Dave Singleton, who represents everything that Willy Loman expected his life to become. There was no risk, but offered a definite average lifestyle. However, Willy never reaches the point of Dave Singleton’s success, and continues to think he made the wrong choice and his life could be better at that turning point. Africa, similar to Alaska, is another opportunity that Willy feels he wasted in life. His brother Ben enters the story in Willy’s delusions. Ben can be seen to represent what Willy could have been. Willy and Ben, being brothers, received similar chances in education and life, and lived in the same time period. Unlike the possibility of Willy striking rich in Alaska, the possibility of him striking rich in Africa is a much more realistic possibility, as proven by Ben. WILLY. Listen to this. This is your uncle Ben, a great man! Tell, my boys Ben. BEN. Why, boys, when I was seventeen, I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. He laughs. And by God I was…show more content…
The difference between Willy and Biff’s ideas of lands of possibilities is that Biff is looking at them as opportunities to better his life, while Willy is looking at them through the rear-view-mirror and is playing the game of “what if”. Biff sees Willy become mentally-ill and a bad husband, and realizes that his life will be similar unless he makes drastic changes and lived life differently than Willy. Biff is seeking a lifestyle where he is truly content, although the West cannot promise great, or even average, amounts of wealth, Biff wants to live a lifestyle that he can be satisfied with and have no regrets. A lifestyle very different from his

More about Motifs In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

Open Document