2 One 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.
3 In his play ‘Death of a Salesman’, Miller uses several symbols. What are they?
4 In ‘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.
5 The wood/jungle and diamonds What is symbolic about these?Woods = WillyLife is crashing downaround himJungle = Uncle BenSymbolic of success in life- Materialistic wealth (diamonds)
6 The 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
7 Moon and Stars What do these symbolise? Symbolic of the “American Dream”It is out of Willy’s reach
8 Linda’s and the woman’s stockings What do these symbolise?Symbolic of Willy’s betrayal and sexual infidelitySelf indulgenceOrHousehold drudgery?
9 Symbolises Willy’s desperation The rubber hoseWhat does this symbolise?Symbolises Willy’s desperationAndLoss of hope
10 Essay question:Discuss the use of symbolism in Miller’s play ‘Death of a Salesman’.