Willy's Requiem

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The final scene in Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is a requiem. The requiem is necessary in order to connect all aspects of the play including Willy’s feelings regarding life and his impact on others and to show that while Willy was somewhat of a burden because of his mental and emotional instability, he is also missed after his death. The requiem also portrays how life easily continues on without Willy, which contrasts how Willy insisted on viewing himself as powerful and vital during his life. Near the end of his life, Willy realized, realistically, that he would probably be remembered and more valued after his death than he was when he was alive. Through the use of thematic and dramatic repetition, dreamy metaphors, and stage…show more content…
During this final section of the requiem, Linda repeats, “I can’t cry” (Miller 139), since she in a sense has already mourned the death of the man she married, who wasn’t crazy. During this scene, Biff says Willy never knew who he was multiple times, which implies that even after his death, Biff still has some resentment towards Willy because he fed him unrealistic dreams which left him unemployed and lost in life. In response to Biff, Happy argues that Willy didn’t die for nothing because he had a worthy, although unrealistic, dream for a perfect life. After Biff and Happy fight over the validity of Willy’s dreams, Charley says, “...Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life…” (Miller 138), which adds to the overall theme of the play: a strive for perfection. Since he understood Willy and observed that a salesman’s life consists of a constant struggle to sell himself, he also repeated, “Nobody dast blame this man” (Miller 138); Charley knew that Willy’s self worth depended on his business success, which he…show more content…
For example, in the beginning of the scene, Miller writes, “Linda doesn’t react. She stares at the grave” (Miller 137), which means that Linda is overwhelmed with her differing feelings of guilt, sadness and confusion. She feels guilty because of her relief that he’s gone, sad because she truly loved him, and confused because she is a realist and will never see why Willy was so dissatisfied with his life. Another example of dialogue, “Happy, almost ready to fight Biff” (Miller 138), shows that Happy still loves and idealizes his father, so he wants to defend his honour against Biff. On the other hand, Miller also includes the dialogue, “Biff, with a hopeless glance at Happy…” (Miller 139), because Biff knows disappointment and knows Biff still lives in the fantasy Willy taught them. A final important, symbolic stage direction in the requiem is, “Only the music of the flute is left on the darkening stage…” (Miller 139). This final stage direction ties together the whole play because Miller weaved the flute motif, representing the faint and ethereal presence of Willy’s father, a talented flute maker, throughout the play. The sound of the flute is meant to stay in the distance, as Willy’s mind always did since he never left the past

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