Death Of A Salesman Setting Essay Examples

The setting as far as time lines shift from past to present and back to the past. The scenes that occur in the present tense are characterized by Willy's flashbacks in time, which influence the play in that it shows the qualities of Willy's character.

- A man stuck in the past,  unable to move forward, still haunted by his mistakes, will lost, going towards insanity, dysfunctional, hopeless.

Those same flashbacks affect Biff similarly in...

The setting as far as time lines shift from past to present and back to the past. The scenes that occur in the present tense are characterized by Willy's flashbacks in time, which influence the play in that it shows the qualities of Willy's character.

- A man stuck in the past,  unable to move forward, still haunted by his mistakes, will lost, going towards insanity, dysfunctional, hopeless.

Those same flashbacks affect Biff similarly in a way, a he also becomes enthralled in his father's long lost world. They also help us see that Biff, in his own way, is not much different from his father in terms of giving up and letting circumstances take over his life.

Hence, Biff has also  a) lost the image of his father as a hero, b) does not trust him, c) still remembers his father's infidelity, and d) he quit a possible football career because of all this. He also has all hope lost, and he is also caught in the past.

What we get from this is that in Death of a Salesman the past is what maintains the present stuck in a rut.

The future does not look as bring as it should, but ironically looks brighter without Willy. The “Requiem,” which takes place after the funeral, exposes the true image of the salesman described under the same light as Willy: Aperson whose streaks of luck, charisma, and personal magnetism are the only weapons that ensure their success. Hence, once Willy, or any other salesman , loses those weapons, their only resort is to dream, like Charley expressed. Yet, as Willy had an uneventful funeral which followed an uneventful and incomplete life, the one bright window into the possible future of the Lomans is when his wife says, poignantly referring to making their last house payment: "We are Free".

 

Thursday January 10 Thomas Sittler, 1°S2

D

ISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING IN

D

EATH OF A

S

 ALESMAN

,

INCLUDING SPECIFICALLY THE ROLE OF THE

L

OMAN HOUSE AS IT APPEARS ON THE STAGE AND HOW IT IS USED

.

Arthur Miller’s

 1949 play

Death of a Salesman

 offers a critical portrait of American society. The play

is centered around the salesman’

s house, with some passages set in various other locations of Boston or New York. The playwright uses setting to subtly convey thematic meaning about the

Lomans’

superficial value system, their lack of true human contact, and the destructive effect

society’s norms have on them.

The places in which the play is set are not mere backgrounds for the Lomans’ actions, but serve as

literary devices that underscore the importance of appearances in their value system. The Loman

house appears on stage as a very stylized construction. The kitchen contains “no other fixtures” but a “table”, “three chairs” and a “refrigerator”, while the bedroom is “furnished only with a [...] bed

-stead an

d a […] chair”

. These appearances are sufficient to convey to the audience the concept of a house, but what we are seeing is clearly not a real home. This focus on appearances rather than

reality reflects the family’s

lifestyle at large: the Lomans relentlessly attempt to maintain their thin veneer of wealth, respectability and family cohesion. The

“transparen[cy]” of the walls makes them

without substance, and reinforces the impression of thinness and artificiality that emerges from house, which becomes a

symbol for the superficiality of the Lomans’ value system.

In addition, the

arrival of Biff and Happy at the beginning of the play is accompanied by the smell of “shaving lotion”

which fills

the “whole house”, according to Linda.

Shaving is connected to appearances one wishes to give, and it is metaphorically this desire to entertain an image which is impregnating the house. By association, it is suggested that the maintenance of physical and social appearances is central to the Lo

mans’ conduct.

Setting is further used as a literary means to underscore

the Lomans’ lack of genuine human

contact. The house and the New York

 –

 New Haven public train are locations which one would expect to have antithetical connotations. The former reminds us of intimacy and familiarity, whereas the latter suggests the ephemeral world of transience. To the Lomans, however, and especially Willy, these associations are reversed. For Biff, who Willy complains has not

“f[ound] [him]self at the age of

thirty-

four”, returning to his parents’

 house and sleeping in his childhood bed is a defeat; and Willy comes home downtrodden in the first scene because he could not complete his last business trip. With these negative associations, the house fails to become a welcoming family harbor. Conversely,

the train, where Dave Singleman dies in his “slippers”,

garments usually worn inside houses, is ironically associated to a sort of homeliness, and Willy does not perceive its lack of intimacy. These paradoxical associations

allude to Willy’

s skewed understanding of human contact, and suggest he attributes little value to true intimacy. It is thus appropriate that a restaurant, a public place where the characters are forced to lower their voices, should serve as the setting for one of

the play’s

climactic moments of emotional revelation, the Boston scene.

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