Death of a Salesman: Psychological Criticism and Deconstruction Anonymous

Arthur Miller’s American masterpiece Death of a Salesperson, very first provided on the phase in New york city City in 1949, represents an effective literary attempt at mixing the styles of social and individual tragedy within the very same remarkable framework. Yet the story of Willy Loman is also one of incorrect values sustained by practically every promotion firm in the nationwide life of the United States. Thus, Willy Loman accepts at face value the over-publicized ideals of product success and outright optimism, and therein lies his own personal disaster. His failure and last defeat highlight not just the failure of a guy but likewise the failure of a way of living, being a traveling salesman. Miller’s capability to forecast this story of his tragic, lower middle-class hero into the common experience of many Americans, who sustain themselves and their families with illusions and overlook truths, makes Death of a Salesperson one of the most substantial plays in American theater within the last fifty years.

The character of Willy Loman, the themes of social and personal tragedy, and the total commonality found within Miller’s play are prime territories for further exploration through the use of psychological criticism and literary deconstruction. In the realm of psychology, Willy Loman’s accomplishments and sources of enjoyment seem easy and straight-forward, yet they do offer an excellent mental foundation on his life, due to his leading a very typical presence as a traveling salesperson which he thinks will allow him and his family to attain wealth and comfort. For twenty-five years, Willy has actually been working to pay off the mortgage on his modest home, and when that is accomplished, he will achieve a sense of flexibility, or the “American Dream”. This objective, because of the economic/social conditions that existed at the time in which the play is set, presents a best photo of his supreme aim in life, plainly outlined by dollar indications and a sense of ownership, two key points to individual success as far as Willy is worried.

Mentally, the key aspect which causes Willy’s depression is his failure to deal with truth in the present. His life, it appears, is lived in the past and the future, and his statement “You wait, kid, prior to it’s all over we’re gon na get a little place out in the country” (Miller 57) signifies his continuous residence on some rather not practical dreams. As a salesperson, Willy travels from state to state, staying in inexpensive motels while on the road pitching his products. This increases the significance of his home due to the fact that it is not only a place of habitation but a representation of short lived stability, a concrete necessity that can not be eliminated once the last payment has been made. While discussing his sons with his partner, Willy boasts “And they’ll get wed, and come for a weekend …” (Miller 62) which signifies his pride in his ownership of your house. Through all this, Willy has actually stayed constant and watchful, keeping his steady belief that he is truly living the “American Dream.”

In addition, the competitors that Willy encounters in his everyday selling activities is too tough for his modest talents, and the path he has selected rejects his real being at every action. He idolizes the “dream” beyond the reality in himself and ends up being a romantic, a shadowy non-entity whose just joy lies in anticipating wonders, considering that reality constantly mocks him. His real ability for manual labor outside of being a salesman seems trivial to him, for he informs his kid Biff in Act II “Even your grandfather was more than a carpenter” (Miller 36). From this self-denial, Willy loses the sense of his own idea; he is a complete stranger to his own soul; he no longer knows what he believes either of his kids or his vehicle; he can not inform who are his real buddies; he is permanently in a state of enthusiastic or depressed confusion.

As far as deconstruction is concerned, Death of a Salesperson is a broad open expanse that can be dissected from numerous perspectives. To start with, as Miller excavates the numerous layers of Willy Loman’s life, the reader ends up being mindful of the hollowness of his dreams and the degree to which his impressions protect him from being overwhelmed with regret and remorse. From this point of view, Willy’s inner feelings and feelings related to his job as a salesman and his position as a family man could be deconstructed in order to reveal his true motivations. Secondly, Willy continues to proclaim his faith in the honor of his profession. This raises an important question worrying Ben, Willy’s brother – is his life a trustworthy alternative to the one Willy lives, or does Willy see it as only another version of the “American dream”?

Simply as Willy refuses to acknowledge the consequences of not going to Alaska with Ben, so he contradicts the effects of his affair with the unknown woman in Boston. If Willy sees his son Biff as he really is, then Willy will need to confess to himself that Biff’s discovery of the affair may have undermined the inflated self-image Willy motivated in Biff. Willy informs Biff that “I will not take the rap for this, you hear? (Miller, 103), even as Biff insists that he does not blame his dad for his own failures. As a location for deconstruction, this scenario raises lots of other concerns connected with the real character of Willy Loman and how it associates with those around him.

Of course, the inmost insight into Willy Loman occurs when Charley asks “Willy, when are you going to mature?” (Miller, 68), however this can likewise be applied to Charlie himself, for he specifies that “My redemption is that I never took any interest in anything” (Miller, 74), which shows that both characters are kids at heart, for without desire, there is no factor to fear dissatisfaction.


Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesperson. 50th Anniversary Edition. Beginning by Arthur Miller. New York City: Penguin Books, 1999.

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