Death of a Salesperson is a play that consists of a HISTORIC background which is crucial to understanding the play. It was composed in 1949, simply a couple of years after the World War ll was over, implying the United States, where the play occurs, was going through numerous changes. For example, the war caused an increase in industrial production markets and non-farming business. For the poorest Americans, however, the economic scenario was not improved as America started having high inflation, triggering issues for the poorest citizens to acquire the fundamentals.
Likewise, the federal government began to produce policies which assisted larger corporate farmers but not smaller sized farmers. Delighted, a sales clerk and Biff, a farm worker, had the lowest-paid tasks in the country, leading them to some problem in keeping self-respect in society. For Americans, dignity and pride were very important things. Due to their success during the war, Americans felt proud and had a feeling of superiority over the world. This lead to their requirement of proving that industrialism was better than communism.
Since of this, Americans felt accountable for safeguarding their country from any influences from communist Soviet Union. This amount of time where Americans felt the responsibility to attain financial success in order to reveal appreciation for the liberty they had as a democratic society and likewise to defeat the Soviets is now called the Cold War age. Throughout this period of time, people like Willy relied excessive on long-term credit to show they were financially effective and ended up having problem in offering their families the basics. In the play, this Cold War attitude is revealed by Willy’s preoccupation with his position in society and financial status. Willy’s worry likewise represents a few of the SOCIAL context in the play as he fears not being accepted in society; he wants to be “well liked”. American society changed after WWll. Prior to, people were inspired by morals and guidelines but after the Cold War era began, Americans became determined bywhat others thought about them. Willy represents individuals in American society who lost their identity due to their need to accomplish social standards.
This concept is reflected at the end of the play where Biff says that Willy “didn’t understand who he was.” This social change may have been a reason for POLITICAL change since, as an outcome of The Great Depression, American government became more prominent on people’ every day lives. Because of this, and also due to an increase in media communication such as radio and tv, Americans began to feel like they belonged to a large, linked society and along came a desire to be accepted by their peers in society.
Miller also shows some of the CULTURAL background behind the play through 3 of his main characters: Willy, Ben and Biff as the 3 of them, similar to numerous Americans at the time, show they are eager to accomplish “The American Dream”. 2 variations of the American Dream are pointed out in the play. One is represented by Willy, focused mainly on cash which was a method Americans discovered to show they had the “liberty and liberty” to buy product goods. The other variation is shown through Biff and Ben with their “go West, young man” mythology representing the imagine having the liberty for new experiences. Leticia Hosang