Presentation on theme: "Death of a salesman by: Arthur Miller Chelsea Balaz, Maria Barton, Crystal Sparrow, Rachel Walters, Paige Bouley, and Katie Grasso."— Presentation transcript:
Death of a salesman by: Arthur Miller Chelsea Balaz, Maria Barton, Crystal Sparrow, Rachel Walters, Paige Bouley, and Katie Grasso
Setting Present: 1941, New York City Times are hard. Willy has many regrets. Flashbacks: 1928, New York City Times were simpler, the boys were young and Willy was on his way to the top. Its where Willy believes he went wrong.
Main Characters Willy Loman: a 63 year old traveling salesman working on commission. He believes that if one is well liked, they will succeed. Its more about personality then intelligence. Willy has many flashbacks, back to 1928, when he believed if he would have made different choices, he would be living the American dream. His goal in life is to find diamonds, live the American dream like his older brother Ben.
Main Characters Biff Loman: Willy’s oldest son that works as a ranch hand in the west. As a teenager, he was very popular and on the football team. According to Willy, he should have succeeded but he did not live up to their expectations. He fights constantly with his father when he returned home.
Main Characters Happy Loman: Willy’s youngest son of 32. He lives in New York City with his parents. He’s a womanizer and greatly influenced by his father. He wants the American dream. Linda Loman: Willy’s wife. She truly loves Willy and her boys and just wants everyone to get along. She sees the situations most clearly.
2 major characters in the Novel Willy Loman can be looked at as a tragic hero. He searches through his past and even tries to gain success through his son’s, but in the end, he fails. Willy makes himself and tries to get others believe that he is more successful than he truly is. Even though he has failed, in the end, Willy takes an extreme sacrifice to give his family the money they need. Three ways Arthur Miller gets Willy’s character across to the reader is through his flashbacks, his suicide and the attempts, and lastly by questioning his past.
The flashbacks allow the reader to understand who Willy was and still is. It shows how he raised his children and all the mistakes he made. He raised his sons to think that being “well liked” was the most important thing. Also, he had an affair, which Biff came to realize and it caused him to not go to summer school, which one could argue, ultimately led to Biff’s “failure”. Also, while the kids were growing up, Happy didn’t receive as much praise and such by Willy, which continued on into his older age.
Happy now compensates that feeling by getting attention from women. Willy also tried to kill himself by crashing the car, hooking a tube up to the gas tank or other ways. He eventually did kill himself just to get money from the insurance for his family. Lastly, Willy questions a lot of his past. An example is why he didn’t choose to go with Ben to Alaska. All of these examples show who Willy is as a character.
Biff Loman is the opposite of his father. He is able to accept the failure in his life and has come to realize that he would rather be out west on a ranch. While he was growing up, his father always praised him and told him to be well liked. In the end, it all fell apart for him. Ever since Biff found out about Willy’s affair, it had changed how he looked at his father. It even affected his future because he ended up not going to summer school and never going to college.
Biff’s character is created through finding out about his father’s affair, his being able to accept the truth and truly know what he wants and actually caring about his parents. Biff knows that he doesn’t want to be part of the business world like Happy and Willy. He wants to be out west, where he can be free and be outside. Though he wants this, his father wants to gain success through Biff, which doesn’t really fit in Biff’s plans. Also, even though Biff leads a different life than his family’s, he still cares about his parents.
Willy Loman returns home in Brooklyn one night, after a bad sales trip. His wife, Linda, tries to get him to ask his boss, Howard Wagner, if he can work in New York. Willy then complains that Biff, has yet to make something of himself. Linda tells Willy to not be so critical. As Willy talks to himself in the kitchen, Biff and his brother Happy talk about their childhoods and think about buying a ranch out west. Now Willy goes into a flashback. He is talking to his sons and tells them he is going to open a business.
Charley’s son Bernard (the neighbors), then enters looking for Biff to tell him to study for math so he doesn’t fail. Willy tells the boys that Bernard is smart but not “well liked”. Now Linda enters. Willy tells her about his successful sales trip, but Linda finds out that is wasn’t that successful. As Linda tries to make him feel better, Willy hears a woman laughing. Willy then has a flashback within the flashback he is already in, of when he flirted with a woman and gave her stockings.
That flashback ends and Willy sees Linda mending stockings and makes her get rid of them. Linda reminds Willy that Biff has to return a ball that he stole. The flashback ends but Willy continues to talk to himself. Then Happy comes downstairs to calm Willy. Willy then goes off on how he should have gone to Alaska with his brother Ben. Charley then enters the scene because he hears all the noise and it leads to Willy and Charley playing cards. Charley then offers Willy a job, but Willy won’t except and gets insulted. The two continue to argue as Willy sees Ben.
Willy tries to continue a conversation with Ben and Charley. Charley gets confused and questions him but Willy yells at Charley and then he leaves. It is now another flashback. The Linda meets Ben for the first time. While they all talk, Ben is impatient to leave. Charley and Bernard also enter the flashback and tell Willy that his sons are stealing lumber.
Back in the present, Linda enters to find Willy outside. Biff and Happy then join Linda and talk about Willy’s problems. Linda scolds Biff for judging Willy harshly. Linda then brings up that Willy has tried to kill himself. Happy comes up with the idea that Biff and him work together and start a sporting goods business. They tell Willy and this makes him happy. Biff also plans to get money from his old boss Bill Oliver. In the morning, Willy thinks of the future that seems to be bright, but then gets mad about how expensive his appliances are. Linda tells Willy that Biff and Happy are taking him out to dinner that night. Willy is now excited again and decides he will talk to his boss about working in NYC.
The scene then shifts to Willy’s boss, Howard playing with a recorder. When Willy finally gets to ask about his job in between Howard showing off his recorder, Howard rejects the idea. Willy then tells Howard about a salesman named Dave Singleman who inspired him to go into sales. Howard decides to tell Willy to take some time off. When Howard leaves, Ben enters, asking Willy to go with him to Alaska. This is another flashback. Then Biff enters, and Willy praises Biff’s on the fact that he is well liked. Ben then leaves and Bernard enters, waiting for Biff’s football game.
Charley enters and teases Willy about the game. The flashback ends but as Willy continues yelling from offstage, Jenny, Charley’s secretary, asks Bernard to make him quiet. Willy enters and talks about a “very big deal” that Biff is going to get. Willy ends up talking to Bernard who became a successful lawyer and Willy asks Bernard why Biff turned out to be a failure. Bernard in return asks Willy what happened to Biff in Boston that made him decide to not go to summer school for math. Willy defensively tells Bernard not to blame him. Charley then enters and when Willy asks for more money than is usually loaned to him, Charley offers Willy a job again. Willy again refuses and tells Charley that he was fired. Charley gives him some money and Willy calls him his only friend. When the scene shifts to them out at dinner, Happy helps Stanley, a waiter, prepare a table. The two talk with a girl named Miss Forsythe.
Biff then enters, and Happy introduces him to Miss Forsythe. Biff then says that he waited many hours for Bill Oliver and he didn’t even recognize him. Biff was so upset that he stole a pen. He also found out he wasn’t a sales clerk. Willy now enters, and Biff tries to tell him what happened at Oliver’s office but Happy doesn’t want him to. Willy then says that he was fired. Still Biff tries to tell his father of the bad news but Happy still tries to make Willy believe good news is coming. Biff finally yells at Willy for not being able to listen. Willy then drifts into a flashback. Bernard enters looking for Linda. Bernard tells Linda that Biff failed math. The flashback starts to go away and Willy criticizes Biff for failing math. Willy then hears the voice of the hotel operator in Boston and yells. Biff tries to calm Willy and claims that Oliver is talking to his partner about giving Biff the money. Willy’s renewed interest and questions upset Biff more, and he screams at Willy. Willy then hears the woman laugh and he yells at Biff. Miss Forsythe re enters with another girl names Letta. Biff helps Willy to the bathroom.
When Biff leaves the bathroom he finds Happy flirting with the girls and argues with him about Willy. Biff leaves the restaurant angered and Happy follows with the girls. Willy goes into another flashback. The woman enters, dressing themselves and flirting. When the door knocks, Willy hurries her into the bathroom. When Willy answers the door he sees Biff who tells him he failed math.
Willy tries to get him to leave, the woman comes out and Willy tries to cover up the situation, but Biff refuses to believe his stories and leaves very upset. The flashback ends and Willy is still in the restaurant. Stanley helps Willy up. Willy then finds out his sons left and Willy asks him where he can find a seed store. Stanley gives him directions to one and Willy leaves.
In the next scene, the boys try to find Linda. In the living room they find her. At this point, Linda is furious and yells at the boys and slaps away the flowers in Happy’s hand. She is very upset about them leaving Willy. They try to calm her and look for Willy. They find him planting in the garden.
Willy is talking to Ben. Linda then tells the boys they need to leave and can’t come back. When Biff goes to say goodbye to Willy, Willy thinks Biff wants to tell Linda about the affair. Happy tries to calm Biff, but Biff and Willy yell at each other.
Biff starts to cry, which touches Willy. Everyone goes to bed except Willy, who continues to talk to Ben. When Linda calls out for Willy but gets no response, they hear Willy’s car speed away. In the requiem, Linda and Happy stand in shock after Willy’s poorly attended funeral.
Biff says that Willy had the wrong dreams. Charley defends Willy. Biff decides to go back west and invites Happy to go with him. Happy says that he will stay in NYC to validate Willy’s death. Linda asks Willy for forgiveness for being unable to cry. She begins to sob over his grave tell him that they are free.
Major Conflicts Willy Within Himself After reading the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, one of the major conflicts that is developed throughout the play is the conflict within the main character Willy. Willy ‘s major conflict is that he is unsuccessful in fulfilling his depiction of the “American Dream”. He believed that if he was a hard worker who was well liked he would climb the ladder of success, just like his older brother Ben, who had easily reached the “American Dream”. When Willy was unsuccessful in achieving his goal, he turned to his two sons, Biff and Happy Loman. Willy thought that if he raised successful children he would then be seen as a successful father, ultimately fulfilling the “American Dream”. As the play continues we see that Willy is not successful when raising his children. He teaches them the wrong morals, unlike his neighbor Charley, who raises a very successful son Bernard. Willy ‘s flashbacks incorporate many of the unsuccessful morals and ethics that he taught to his sons. Willy versus Biff In the play Death of a Salesman, Biff and Willy both develop different opinions pertaining to their future. Biff as an adult became a farm hand and is not very successful, but he enjoys being outside and working with his hands. This affects Willy because he looks at Biff as a popular high school student who has the potential of becoming something better than a farm hand. This is where the conflict develops from. Biff is happy with what he has become and is very content to be free.
Major Conflicts Continued Willy tries to find a way to redeem himself and make the “American Dream” come true for his sons, but is not successful. His flashbacks also incorporate other choices that he had made in the past that he now regrets. He believed that many of these decisions had caused him to become unsuccessful. These flashbacks show Willy’s constant battle within himself to become the ideal “American Dream”. Willy can be seen as both the protagonist and the antagonist. He can be seen as the positive heroic character because he is not willing to except defeat and he continues to push towards his goal, despite his multiple failed attempts and poor decisions. Willy can also be seen as the antagonist because of his self doubt that causes him not achieve the “American Dream”. His flashbacks of his poor decision show that these are his own downfalls. On the other side, Willy had high hope for Biff to be a success in the business world. Willy is very insistent on Biff’s success because he believes if Biff become a successful salesman, then Willy will achieve his goal of the “American Dream”. Biff can be seen as the protagonist who is striving to have his father except him for who he has become, even if it might not be the perfect “American Dream”. Willy can be seen as the antagonist because creates obstacles that Biff has to overcome. Willy does not want Biff to fall short of his expectations that fulfill the “American Dream”
Resolution of the Conflict Willy within Himself The conflict within Willy ultimately ends when he commits suicide by crashing his car. The outcome of his death is the hope that his family will get money from the life insures that will help them live better. Willy ends the conflict within himself also because he no longer is battling to achieve the “American Dream”. He has finally ended the conflict by taking the easy way out and committing suicide. Willy versus Biff The conflict between Willy and Biff ultimately ends when Willy commits suicide. At Willy’s funeral, Biff states how Willy was so much happier when he was working with his hands, than as a salesman. He also states that Willy had all the wrong dreams during his life because he was unsure of who he was.
Resolutions Continued As a result of his death, Biff has realized that he is going to go back to the country and become a farm hand once again. He realizes that this is what makes him happy, even thought it did not fill his fathers expectations. Happy, on the other hand, wants to make his father proud by living up to his dream of becoming a successful salesman. Charley’s response to his death, is to highlight Willy’s constant struggle and optimism as a salesman. Linda’s reaction is that Willy is on another trip and that he is free. Instead of following his heart, he concentrated to strongly on fulfilling the “American Dream”. Biff learned a lesson from his father, which was that he should follow his heart and dreams. Biff now realized who is really is, which is something that Willy was never successful in achieving. This supports Biffs decision to go back to the country and be a farm hand.
2 Quotes in the work 1 st quote: “I’m- I’m ashamed to. how can I mention it to him? every day I take away that little rubber pipe. But, when he comes home, I put it back where it was. How can I insult him that way? I don’t know what to do. I live from day to day, boys.
1 st quote continued I tell you, I know every thought in his mind. It sounds so old-fashioned and silly, but I tell you he put his whole life into you and you’ve turned your backs on him. Biff, I swear to god! Biff his life is in your hands!” (Miller )
1 st quote explained This quote is stated by linda to her two sons, Biff and Happy. I would consider this quote to be significant because it shows how willy, the man of the house, is suicidal. Willy being suicidal has a large impact on this book. Willy’s whole life he has been kidding himself on his achievements and made his family think that he was better than he was.
Willy knows this, however he will never admit this to his family nor himself. He has literally convinced himself that he was successful in business, when the reality is the contrary. Willy feels he is worth more dead than alive, so he tries to commit suicide and get the insurance money for his family. He also feels that if he gets the insurance money, it will somehow get biff into the business world and make up for the mistakes he has made in life.
2 nd quote: Biff: “you fake! You phony little fake! You fake!! Willy: “I gave you an order! Biff, come back here or I’ll beat you! Come back here! I’ll whip you!” (miller 121)
This quote shows a flashback when biff, wills elder son, figures out that his own father had been cheating on his mother every time that he went on business trips. Willy feels that biff never made it in business because he was spiting his father for the cheating. Biff doesn’t feel that he has done this.
Willy wants to kill himself so bad that so he can fix the fact that he cheated on his wife and fix other mistakes by making biff use the insurance money to be successful in business. Biff being successful would make up for the fact that he was supposedly spiting will for cheating.
Major Themes American Dream Illusion vs. Reality
The American Dream Thesis Statement: Throughout the play Willy has tried to live up to his version of the American Dream, a good- looking, well-liked man, while at the same time trying to push his sons into his interpretation. Willy believes wholeheartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream. Willy’s American Dream consists of a well liked and personally attractive man in business, unquestionably and deservedly, being able to acquire any and all of the material comforts offered in the modern American life. However, his obsession with the superficial qualities of attractiveness and likeability contradicts the persevering, more rewarding idea of the American Dream. This American Dream identifies hard work without complaint as the key to success. This makes Willy’s interpretation of the Dream much more superficial. Willy’s blind faith in his skewed version of the American Dream leads to his psychological decline and suicide. He is unable to accept the gap between the American Dream and the successes of his own life.
Examples: 1. Willy’s brother Ben represents the American Dream. When Ben was only seventeen he “walked into the jungle” and when he was only twenty-one he walked back out, rich. This is what Willy believes as achieving the American Dream. Ben was a rich man, meaning he had succeeded in the eyes of Willy. Throughout the novel Willy continuously tells his sons, especially Biff, of what his brother had done. He also, has many flashbacks to Ben, asking him for help. Willy looks at Ben as being the symbol of his American Dream.
2. Bernard is a character in the play who Willy looks down upon. Bernard is more of a nerd, who doesn’t have many friends and spends most of his time doing school work. On the other hand he believes his son, Biff, to be the epitome of his American Dream. Biff was always well liked in school as the quarterback of the football team, and was good-looking. However, Bernard is the one who becomes extremely successful, while Biff struggles in life. Biff begins to work on a ranch out west, making Willy believe his son is not at all successful. In his mind Biff did not succeed in the American Dream. This is why Willy continues to push Biff to talk to his former boss, Bill Oliver. Willy believes that since Biff was once so liked Bill will open his arms to Biff and do whatever he can for him. But, Willy’s perception of the American Dream was wrong, and Bill does not help Biff at all.
3. At the end of the play Willy commits suicide. Willy does this for the American Dream. Willy believes that once he dies all his insurance money will be left to Biff. This way Biff will be successful and in turn Willy would have been successful in raising his son. With the money left to Biff he will be rich, and would have achieved the American Dream.
Illusion Vs. Reality A major theme in the play is illusion vs. reality. Though Linda, Biff and Happy are all unable to separate reality from illusion to some degree, Willy is the main character who suffers from this ailment. For years, Willy has believed that both he and his sons, especially Biff, will one day be great successes. Though he's a disrespected salesman, he calls himself the "New England man." Though Biff has done nothing with his life by the age of thirty-four, Willy tells others and tries to make himself believe that his son is doing big things out west. Willy's brother, Ben, continually appears in the troubled man's mind, offering hints on how to make it in the world of business. Willy feels that he must live up to the standard that Ben has set, but this is found to be impossible by the end of the play. Willy's frequent flashbacks to past events, many of which are completely or partly fabricated, demonstrate that he is having difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what he wishes were real. Willy's imagined conversations with his dead brother, Ben, also demonstrate his fragile grip on reality. Willy's mind is full of delusions about his own abilities and accomplishments and the abilities and accomplishments of his sons. Biff and Happy share their father's tendency to invent grand schemes for themselves and think of themselves as superior to others without any real evidence that the schemes will work or that they are, indeed, superior. Only Biff ever realizes who he is and what his potential really is. He is the only member of the family who is able to finally escape the illusions. Thesis Statement: Throughout the play the Loman family must come to grips with the various illusions Willy has created for the family, hoping to find the reality in life.
Examples: 1. Willy’s job is a cause for a confusion between illusion vs. reality. Willy says that he once was a big time salesman, the person who opened all the doors the the New England territory. Willy has made himself seem like a huge success in the sales world, making Linda, Biff, and Happy believe that he has achieved the American Dream. He then uses this to try and force his sons into his theory of the American Dream, especially Biff. For years Willy has created a false image for himself, making himself seem as a salesman in demand, when in reality he was washed up. This is shown when Willy goes to Howard about his job, but is fired. This is the reality of what Willy is to the sales world. All of his illusions of how great he was come to heads, as he is faced with the reality that his career is over.
1. Willy’s sons cause for a difference between what is real and not. Willy looks at his sons as great, successful boys, when in reality they have not achieved all that he had hoped. Biff has gone out west to work on a ranch. However, Willy tells others that Wily is doing big things out west, going into business out there. Willy has also created an illusion about Biff’s past job with Bill Oliver. Willy had the illusion Biff was an extremely well liked, influential man in the business world. However, all Biff really was nothing to the company, so little that Bill Oliver wouldn’t even see Biff when he came back.
1. At the end of the play Biff is the only family member who is able to realize what is real and what is not. Biff realizes who he is, and that’s not a successful business man. Biff likes and wants to work out west, and he has come to accept that. He doesn’t want to live up to all the dreams of Willy anymore, he knows who he is. He also realizes who Willy is. He says Willy is “a dime a dozen,” showing the Biff realizes Willy wasn’t all he made them believe. Biff understands that Willy made the wrong choices in life, he followed the illusions of the American Dream. And now that Biff realized this, he knew that he wouldn’t be like Willy. He would live his own live, however he wanted