Death of a Salesmen Summary

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Death of a Salesman Summary

Death of a Salesman is a classic play written by Arthur Miller in 1949. It tells the story of Willy Loman, an aging salesman who is struggling to make ends meet. The play follows Willy’s journey as he attempts to find success in a world that is rapidly changing and that no longer values the skills of a traveling salesman. Along the way, Willy is forced to confront his own failures and his inability to provide for his family. The play is a tragedy that examines the human cost of the pursuit of the American Dream.

Plot Summary

The play begins with Willy Loman returning home from a failed business trip. He is exhausted and frustrated, and his wife, Linda, is concerned about his health. Willy’s two sons, Biff and Happy, are also at home, and they are both struggling to find their place in the world. Biff is a former high school football star who has been unable to find success in the business world. Happy is a womanizer who is trying to make a name for himself in the business world. Willy is desperate for his sons to succeed, and he pushes them to follow in his footsteps and become successful salesmen.

Willy’s brother Ben arrives and tells Willy about a business opportunity in Alaska. Willy is tempted, but he ultimately decides to stay in New York and continue his work as a salesman. Willy’s sons, however, are inspired by Ben’s stories and decide to go to Alaska. Willy is proud of them, but he is also worried that they will not be successful. Meanwhile, Willy’s boss, Howard, informs him that he is being let go due to his age and declining sales. Willy is devastated and begins to have flashbacks to his past, which reveal the source of his insecurities and his obsession with success.

Willy’s sons return from Alaska, but they have not found success. Biff is angry and disillusioned, and he blames Willy for his failures. The two argue, and Biff reveals that he has always felt like a disappointment to his father. Willy is heartbroken, and he begins to lose his grip on reality. He hallucinates about his deceased brother, Ben, and he begins to believe that he can still make something of himself. Willy eventually commits suicide, believing that it is the only way he can provide for his family.

Themes

Death of a Salesman is a tragedy that examines the human cost of the pursuit of the American Dream. The play examines the idea that success is not necessarily determined by hard work and determination, but rather by luck and circumstance. Willy is a hardworking man who is unable to find success in a world that is rapidly changing and that no longer values the skills of a traveling salesman. His sons, Biff and Happy, are also unable to find success, despite their hard work. The play suggests that the pursuit of the American Dream is ultimately futile, and that the only way to find true happiness is to accept one’s limitations and find contentment in one’s life.

The play also examines the idea of family and the importance of relationships. Willy’s relationship with his sons is strained, and he is unable to provide them with the guidance and support they need. His relationship with Linda is also strained, as he is unable to provide for her financially. The play suggests that family is the most important thing in life, and that it is essential to nurture and maintain relationships with loved ones.

Conclusion

Death of a Salesman is a classic play that examines the human cost of the pursuit of the American Dream. The play suggests that success is not necessarily determined by hard work and determination, but rather by luck and circumstance. It also examines the importance of family and the need to nurture and maintain relationships with loved ones. The play is a tragedy that serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of chasing after an unattainable dream.

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