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The play hubs on Willy Loman, a salesman sixty three years old, who is beginning to lose his grasp on veracity. He places vast importance on his ability and native charisma to make friends. According to him, he was once a well recognized and liked man all through New England as a travelling salesman whose talents were unmatched. His sons, Biff and Harold (nicknamed Happy), were the delight and ecstasy of the neighborhood, and his wife Linda was striking, jovial throughout the day. As a flute tune plays, Willy returns to his residence in Brooklyn one night, worn out from a botched sales trip. His wife Linda tries to convince him to ask his boss, Howard, to allow him to work in New York so that he won’t have to travel. Willy says that he will talk to Howard the next day. He grumbles that Biff, his older son who has come home on vacation, has yet to make something out of himself. Linda rebukes Willy for being so critical, and Willy goes to the kitchen for a nibble. As Willy speaks to himself in the kitchen, Biff and his younger brother, Happy, who is also visiting, bring to mind their adolescence and talk about their father’s gibbering, “which often comprises of criticism of Biff’s letdown to live up to Willy’s prospect” (SparkNotes Act 1, Part 2, p. 11).
The play is typically told from Willy’s point of view, and infrequently, it flashes back to preceding parts of Willy’s life, occasionally during a current day scene. It does this by having a scene start in the present time and adding characters onto the theater that only Willy can see and hear, representing characters and dialogues from other times and places. One such example occurs when Willy has a chat with Charlie. During the conversation, Willy’s brother comes on stage to talk to him at the same time as Charlie is also talking to him (Miller Act 1, Part 6).
Linda Loman and Charley dole out as forces of reason all through the play. Linda is almost certainly the most mysterious and multifaceted character in the play. She views liberty as a break away from debt, the recompense of total possession of the objective goods that symbolize success and steadiness. Willy’s prolonged fixation with the American Dream seems, over the extended years of his marriage, to have left Linda internally divergent. Nevertheless, Linda, by far the most level headed, most realistic, and the toughest character in the play, appears to have kept her poignant life contact. As such, she signifies the emotional center of the drama. If Linda is a kind of emotional clairvoyant, overcome by the unavoidable end that she foresees with astonishing clarity, then Charley purposes as a sort of elegiac prophet or astute. Whereas Linda’s cogent analysis of Willy’s speedy decline is made possible by her emotional understanding, Charley’s prediction of the condition is rational, grounded firmly in virtually reasoned examination. He recognizes Willy’s monetary failure, and the job offer that he pulls out to Willy represents a rational solution. Though he is not horribly fond of Willy, Charley recognizes his predicament and shields him from blame (Sterling, p.86).
Different symbols used in the play have different meanings. Symbols are characters, objects, colors, or figures used to represent theoretical ideas or concepts. Seeds, as used in the book, represent to Willy the chance to prove the value of his effort, both as a father and a salesman. His frantic, night-time attempt to grow vegetables implies his shame about scarcely being able to put food on the table and having not anything to leave his children when he dies. Willy believes that he has labored hard but fears that he won’t be able to help his children any more than his own ditching father helped him. The seeds also represent Willy’s sense of failure with his son Biff (Roberts 45).
Despite the American Dream’s formula for success, which Willy considers foolproof, his efforts to develop and raise Biff went skewed. Realizing that his all-American football star has twisted into a lazy bum, (Miller Act 2, Part 4, p. 71) Willy takes Biff’s letdown and lack of aspiration as a reflection of his capabilities as a father. The rubber hosepipe is another stage support that reminds the audience of Willy’s frenzied efforts to commit suicide. He has actually tried to kill himself by gulping gas, which is, paradoxically, the very substance necessary to one of the most essential elements with which he must furnish his home for his family’s wellbeing and comfort – heat. Factual death by inhaling gas parallels the symbolic death that Willy feels in his fight to afford such a crucial necessity (Miller Act 2, Part 7, p. 103).
This work is relevant in today’s society and culture because it depicts how progression in society has led to improvement in industry. For some people, society has formed mass wealth and facilitated a standard of living unmatched throughout history. But for others, society creates incredible hardship and grief, motivated by endless pledges of good times to come. Society is to be held responsible. As in the book, it was society that exposed Willy off his dignity. The book portrays gluttony as a defect in society. This malady, the craving to get ahead of the subsequent person, is there on a state level. Greed can at times compel one to great things, but sometimes it can ruin a man. Willy was ruined, not by his personal greed, for he was a straightforward man with effortless dreams, but by the voracity of others. The book also shows lack of public safety net in the present society, a net which recognizes people in dilemma and requests to remedy their state of affairs.