Symbols And Motifs In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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In Arthur Miller’s play, entitled Death of a Salesman, Miller utilizes symbols and motifs to explore the manner in which the common man displays qualities of a tragic hero. In Death of a Salesman, Miller intricately examines American life and consumerism. In creating Willy Loman – the protagonist of the play – Miller wrote a destructively insecure anti-hero. Willy is often shown to be obsessed with the concept of the “American Dream,” a recurring motif in the play. This concept is something that Willy strives to achieve in the duration of his life and desperately wants his sons to achieve as well. However, his fixation on the more superficial aspects – such as being well liked and having a good personality – is at odds with the more gritty and rewarding version that identifies hard work as the key to attaining the American Dream. Willy often mentions how, “the man who makes an appearance in the business world… who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (Miller 25), revealing how he believes the manner in which to succeed and “never want”…show more content…
Willy senses a sense of failure in him for “blowing [Biff] so full of hot air [he] could never stand taking orders from anybody” (Miller 104). Despite the aforementioned American Dream (and the formula for success which Willy considers infallible), Willy’s efforts to help Biff grow and nurture were not successful – just as his efforts to cultivate and nurture the seeds. Willy takes Biff’s lack of ambition and failure to achieve the American Dream as a sign of his own failure as a father. By using the seeds to characterise Willy’s inability to come to terms with reality, Miller reveals how even the most common of man is affected by a fatal flaw – Willy’s boiling down to a fundamental flaw in his thinking; he is always preoccupied with his own dreams and desires, so much so that he denies and ignores anything contrary to his

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