2One aspect of realism is that elements of the play become highly symbolic. Symbols are elements of a story (dialogue, motifs, situations etc) that keep reappearing throughout.Symbols are objects, characters, figures or colours used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
3In his play ‘Death of a Salesman’, Miller uses several symbols. What are they?
4In ‘Death of a Salesman’ consumer objects keep cropping up in the play, as symbols of what is wrong in the society and in the characters’ lives.CarsRefrigeratorStockingsThe ShowerTape-recorderTennis RacketsFountain PenRemember that in the late 1940s when the play was written,far fewer peoplewould have owned cars.A refrigerator would also have been a very big purchaseand many families would not have had one.Buying a fridge then might have beenlike buying a satellite disc now.
5The wood/jungle and diamonds What is symbolic about these?Woods = WillyLife is crashing downaround himJungle = Uncle BenSymbolic of success in life- Materialistic wealth (diamonds)
6The garden/seeds What is symbolic about these? Seeds Symbolise Sense ofFailureWithBiffWhat is symbolic about these?Planting a garden = Willy needingto leave something behindfor people to remember him by(think of him as a great man).Never planted garden=Never achieved success in life
7Moon and Stars What do these symbolise? Symbolic of the “American Dream”It is out of Willy’s reach
8Linda’s and the woman’s stockings What do these symbolise?Symbolic of Willy’s betrayal and sexual infidelitySelf indulgenceOrHousehold drudgery?
9Symbolises Willy’s desperation The rubber hoseWhat does this symbolise?Symbolises Willy’s desperationAndLoss of hope
10Essay question:Discuss the use of symbolism in Miller’s play ‘Death of a Salesman’.