To What Extent Does ‘Death of a Salesman’ handle contemporary problems such as materialism, consumerism, procrastination and alienation, in Act 1 of the play? ‘Death of a Salesperson’ deals with numerous modern-day concerns proper to the category of catastrophe. Materialism is an issue provided in the play as a defect of the primary character Willy Loman, who not only is far too materialistic, but places product significance on the incorrect things. This is partially owing to the concern of consumerism, which has penetrated his beliefs and actions.
Willy Loman also procrastinates as a style throughout the play, in numerous destructive methods.
The play provides Willy Loman as both the cause and casualty of alienation. All four problems exist as societal items of the illusory American Dream and problematic American culture, and although none are the focus of the play, they pervade it significantly from beginning to end. Willy Loman could have achieved joy by following his dreams and doing something he was good at, like his dad and bro did.
Aside from being apparent that Willy is not happy or effective in his current profession, it is revealed that Willy wants he had actually chosen Ben to Alaska when he had the opportunity.
For example, he says ‘If I ‘d chosen him to Alaska that time, everything would’ve been completely various.” Willy wished to live the initial principle of the ‘American Dream’, in which the 2 visions of living near to nature in the ‘great outdoors’, and using absolutely nothing however what you were born with– your character– to make your fortune in the role of the salesperson, were combined to form the image of the pioneer. Willy nevertheless rejected his desires to work outdoors and pursue carpentry, so he might look for wealth in the city, exposing his materialistic and out of balance interpretation of how to achieve the ‘American Dream’.
Biff inherits his father’s optimistic view of the ‘American Dream’ owing to his being fed Willy’s viewpoints. Delighted calls Biff a “poet and “idealist” as he reveals his desire to live and work with nature, just like his father had. Biff too denies himself the satisfaction of calming down on a farm or “out West” due to the fact that the dogma of materialism has been implanted in his morals and he feels that if he is only making “twenty-eight dollars a week” then “all [he’s] done is to lose [his] life”. Willy’s materialism is also shown by his unfavorable top priorities, which regardless of leaning towards immorality are not unproven, merely unsuited.
Willy does not understand the value of the love and assistance of a household, and thinks the structures of his life lie in product facets of success, such as his income. An indication of this is how he mistreats his other half, despite her consistent take care of him. She pampers him, “removing his shoes” for him and is satisfied by reproach and disrespect, showing his ungratefulness. However, he clings reverently onto superficial achievements or anything that may bring them about, such as the Ebbets Field video game that Biff participated in.
In this way Willy is chasing after an illusory dream– his concept of the ‘American Dream’ is corrupted. This is partly shown by Willy’s affair with the woman, which shows how his need to be ‘well-liked’ bypasses his requirement for security and his wife. When Willy reveals insecurity to Linda about his capabilities and look, she fills him with self-confidence. When Willy states “individuals do not seem to take to me”, Linda reacts “do not be foolish”, without requesting any explanation, demonstrating how she ignores whatever the fact may be and cares only to assure him.
Linda informs Willy he is the handsomest male in the world, and when he contradicts her she reacts “To me you are”, showing her genuine love for him. Her love for him is based on his internal functions like his character, not his external features like his accomplishments. This is in contrast to the female, whose like was earned by Willy’s success, not friendship, as she was a professional relation to Willy. The female lavishes attention and flattery on Willy, which Willy uses to please his flagging ego, feel ‘well-liked’, and calm his loneliness on the road.
In having an affair with the female, Willy picks that he chooses to be ‘well-liked’ than liked, as ‘love’ with Linda would constitute his fidelity. The play tackles the issue of consumerism in its treatment of the ‘American Dream’ and the unhappiness it reveals in its degeneration. Through Willy Loman, Miller complains how America has taken the ‘American Dream’ too far and fallen victim to consumerism, losing the initial values and principles of the perfect in translation.
The ‘American Dream’ was the aim to attain wealth and status by only hard work and faith– the goal of a society in which everybody had the exact same starting line in the race to success. Miller mentions the plain truth that success in fact counts on strong results, a truth which Charley and his child comprehend and as a result, grow. Bernard concentrates his energies on studying as he knows this is what will assist him make an effect in the business world, unlike Biff and Pleased who have actually been taught by Willy that how they are “favored” and “constructed like Adonises” will see them through.
Willy Loman stops working to realise that times have changed considering that the days when the frontiersmen– salesman– sold their characters, not their products, and made their living on the basis of their personal charisma. Validating this, Charley tells Willy that “The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesperson and you do not understand that.” It is paradoxical that for all Willy’s enthusiasm for his income as a salesman, he spent his life trying to sell the wrong item. Willy uses procrastination in his proliferation of his image of success, to himself and others.
He borrows cash from Charley weekly and each time provides Charley empty pledges to pay it back. Willy is hesitating from finding a permanent solution to his financial problems since it hurts his pride to need to seek a job from Charley, who he is jealous of. He is likewise constantly much better off elsewhere, declaring he would have been “King of New York City” if his previous boss was still around. Willy pins the blame for his failure on unchangeable problems which can’t be his fault, feeding his self-deception and conserving him from the regret that would accompany the fact of his situation.
Willy promises that he will speak to Biff’s maths teacher to avoid him failing Biff but he never gets round to it, amongst other examples of how Willy is all talk and no action. Willy constantly boasts, falsely, about his own success and his sons’ success, constructing the smoke screen of lies which he feels is necessary to keep his self-respect. This procrastination from dealing with the fact is shown to be a significant problem in contribution to Willy’s ultimate failure, as it leads to his complete psychological deterioration.
We learn from Linda that when Biff composes house to say he’ll check out, Willy is delighted at the opportunity to anticipate something– “he’s all smiles, and speak about the future”. Nevertheless as the date of Biff’s check out methods, his delusional joy fades to be replaced with the irritation that prepares for Biff’s real existence. This is an example of how Willy is most delighted when he is looking forward to something due to the fact that it offers him with among his only remaining satisfaction– hope, albeit incorrect hope.
In basic, the times when we see Willy most happy in the play are when he is thinking or thinking back about the past, i. e. putting things off from getting on with his present. Alienation is among the bigger themes in the play, being the concern which spreads out most certainly. At the start of the play, we see Willy has isolated himself from truth by constantly losing himself in the past and being removed from and unable to concentrate on his present situation. This is partially suggested by the flute music, symbolic of Willy’s father, which plays to accompany Willy’s submersion in his memory.
He acts tiredly when he “presses 2 fingers against his eyes” and absentmindedly as he “begins placing on his jacket” for no reason, and Linda even tries “to bring him out of it”. Willy has no one to speak with about his problems as he has actually hemmed himself in with his possesses well-being, and can not go back on words so fearless. He turns to the dream of his dead bro Ben for suggestions, more representing his growing alienation from reality. The play reveals Willy’s alienation to be a result of the American Capitalist system having turned its back on him and likewise his own personal flaws.
Willy’s alienation infects his two boys, who have been instilled with their daddy’s problematic moral worths. Willy’s chauvinistic mindset and lack of respect for his partner appears in Delighted, who uses women to the point that sleeping with them “gets like bowling” and “does not imply anything”. He describes females as “gorgeous animals”. Willy’s condoning of Biff’s petty thieving as a kid caused his implied kleptomania and ultimate jail sentence as a grown guy. The siblings are both pushed away from society in their malfunctioning behaviour and the short-term nature of their livelihoods.
Both young boys are not content with their lives. Happy is referred to as a “philandering bum” and Biff especially is “like a young boy”, not able to calm down and grasp some instructions or security. Alienation is the problem possibly handled the most as it is the end outcome of the other issues integrated and the one which has the biggest part in the death of the main character, nevertheless Miller’s play deals with the issues as living off each other and as all counting towards the terrible fate that is the conclusion of the events of the play.