Table of Contents
Symbolism in Death of a Salesman: Introduction
Death of a Salesman Symbolism Essay: Main Body(Video) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller | Themes
Bibliography(Video) Top 10 Notes: Death of a Salesman
Symbols have a special significance in Death of a Salesman. Recurring images of the rubber hose, diamonds, and stockings help to convey the play’s main message. This essay studies the symbolism in Death of a Salesman and uncovers the meaning behind the imagery used by Arthur Miller.Our experts can deliver a Symbolism in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller essay tailored to your instructions for only $13.00 $11.05/page 308 qualified specialists online Learn more
Symbolism in Death of a Salesman: Introduction
In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman, the sub-surface ideals of the American Dream are investigated and a very close ruinous look is the outcome. The artificial makeup of this dream is well revealed by means of appropriate and interesting symbols. Miller employs diamonds to delineate the fragility of the Willy s’ prescription of success. He is unable to comprehend that material things are intangible and cannot last forever. He cherishes the view that all things he possesses will never undergo change and remain as such. His job, his stature, home and even the machines would not experience any alterations. Appliances are representation of success and wealth, and when Willy comes to know that it is all but superficial and transitory, he is obsessed with the gloom of their impermanence and is highly disappointed. He perceives himself as if he has not got anything in his life, and is a deprived person. All these symbols are eventually coming out in the open to reveal the hollowness and little tensile strength of pursuit of happiness through personal attraction.
Death of a Salesman Symbolism Essay: Main Body
In this play, Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses several symbols to explain the philosophy of success and failure. Many symbols are integral part of the play and they in turn cultivate both character and the plot. In them are ‘the rubber hose, the tape recorder, diamonds, Linda’s stockings, and the seeds for the garden’. These symbols stand for Willy’s cravings for success and the failure, which is but entwined with him. Willy Loman is a salesman who thinks that personal charm and enchantment will be instrumental in fulfilling the desire for financial success. The rubber hose is meant for both sides of life, that is, success and failure. It also is relevant to the theme of death. It conveys the meanings of gloom and deception as well. It is linked with the gas main in Willy’s house and gives him the chance to commit suicide. Willy takes it into account as means of doing something for the family and a response to the long years of hopelessness. He thinks of himself as a burden and when he would die, it would be no more and the sufferings of the family will also end. However, this is just an eyewash because under the veil of this false justification lies the realities of practical life. He is incapable of facing the harsh realities. He has lost his job and could not succeed. Even though, he could dare to accomplish the execution of suicide and faces failure here too. When Linda, Willy’s wife, gets the hose, she is disturbed by its intentions. Its dual nature is obvious when Willy has to face it by his son and the former refuses to accept its reality. An identical denial is manifest when Willy has to meet the challenge of tape recorder in Howard’s office. The tape recorder signals the transformation in his life by means of progress of technology. It also represents the end of Willy’s career.
When Willy and Linda bought their home in Brooklyn, it seemed detached from the city. Willy was in his youth and resolute and believed that he has glorious future, which is desperately waiting for him. He and his sons broke the three limbs that endangered the safety of his home. The green fields helped to provide a beautiful sight and led to the filling of his home with highly appreciable aromas. For many years when Willy was trying to pay for his home, the city experienced expansions and their house was also surrounded by too many homes. There were huge apartment buildings, which ‘trapped’ his home. Now the fragrant aromas were replaced with foul smells that engulfed their once beautiful home. Similar undesirable developments start happening in his career too. The symbols used here are not an end in themselves rather than they are a means towards an end. The sense of dispossession slowly but steadily comes to grip this main character s’ life and he is absolutely buried under the burden of feelings of deprivation. His philosophy of life has cheated him in the end and now he feels himself be fooled by his own cherished views, which are repulsed by the weight of sheer circumstances. He finds himself incapable of overcoming the difficulties of life he is now facing and they are almost crushing one. His contentment in life is gone. He has lost his feelings of being a human being and this has happened to the deception, with which he is now confronted. The glittering dreams are done to disperse. All that he has slipped away from his hands and he is alive to see all this. The feelings of hopelessness are now causing him to have a declining interest in life. There is such a high intensity of this bar that he now wants to seek refuge in suicide. This state of mind is the product of his philosophy of life, which ultimately led to nowhere but ruin. The worth of shallow imagination is well proved by the author who shows that the superficial and false sheen is destined to be unraveled one day and that is most gruesome for those who believe in such line of thinking. The stockings are means to show Willy s’ affair with another woman. The long road trips may have been intended for symbolizing the fracture in family. Plants could have been speaking of the rebirth by doling life to someone, as Willy desired. Miller says, “I wished to create a form which, in itself as a form, would literally be the process of Willy Loman’s way of mind.” (Jacobus lee, 250).
In this play, all these ideals lacking depth are screened with the help of characters and most significant symbols which very well convey the theme of the play. The audience is beautifully taught the lessons and no ambiguity is left in their mind, which is the work of symbolism itself. Symbols stand for as mentioned above the desire and lust of the characters, reflection of circumstances and the means to make more crystal clear the actual underlying motif of the play. All this is the work of symbolism that the audience is enamored of the theme of the play, which brings to their mind the lessons taught by having desires for momentous and false pleasures. These wishes, which are steeped in running after the obvious shining things, are no panacea for the satisfaction of human beings and their nature. As Willy’s life is being destroyed, he utters, “The woods are burning! I can’t drive a car!” Human soul cannot be ignored and being oblivious to it unleashes very sad consequences. We should not believe in such things, which are nothing but happy past times and have no reality of their own. The success and failure do not depend upon the personal attractiveness as thought by Willy. The symbols are coming to our rescue to acquaint us with the daunting and adamant realities of life. The play can also be taken in the sense that time and tide wit for none and those who consume themselves and their time in fact waste themselves and none others and they have nothing but repentances in the end but all this is now in vain. Timely actions and correct beliefs save men from unwanted results and it is very difficult to lift us from the quagmire, which is built by our own blunders.
Symbolism in Death of a Salesman: Summary & Conclusion
Everything animate or animate is subject to change in this universe. Nothing is everlasting. The desires themselves change even if we keep them close to our hearts for a very long period of time. Everything has shelf life of its own and should be taken in its true perspective otherwise it would be like striking ourselves with the tools we ourselves devise. When one is trapped by one s’ own feelings, it is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to get out of it successfully. Similar is the case with Willy who cannot come to terms with the realities if life. He lives in a make-believe world which is apparently bright but very much dark inside. There is then no escape from these undesirable conditions, which has been brought about by relying on the obvious glittering things. The play is laudable for showing the subtle realities and fragmented nature of ‘American Dream’.
Jacobus lee, The Bedford Introduction to Drama, Fifth Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. ISBN-13: 978-0312255435.On-Time Delivery! Get your 100% customized paper done in as little as 3 hours Let`s start
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. The play.
What is an example of symbolism in Death of a Salesman? ›
Diamonds. To Willy, diamonds represent tangible wealth and, hence, both validation of one's labor (and life) and the ability to pass material goods on to one's offspring, two things that Willy desperately craves. Correlatively, diamonds, the discovery of which made Ben a fortune, symbolize Willy's failure as a salesman ...What are the major symbols in Death of a Salesman what do they symbolize? ›
- Rubber Hose. The rubber hose is a symbol of Willy's impending suicide. ...
- Stockings. During his affair with The Woman, Willy gives her the intimate gift of stockings. ...
- Seeds. "I don't have a thing in the ground!" ...
Here is an analysis of symbolism in the play: Willy Loman's character, including his salesman career, symbolizes an ordinary man in American society. He acts as a representation of the ordinary man leading a fruitless life in a flourishing nation.What does hope symbolize in the play Death of a Salesman? ›
Answer and Explanation: In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, hope affects Willy by giving him an inflated sense of possibilities for dreams that do not materialize. In Willy's flashbacks, his life was full of hope. He had hope for his success in business, as he was not yet unraveling due to failure.What are the symbols in Death of a Salesman essay? ›
In his play, Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller employs many symbols to illustrate the themes of success and failure. They include the rubber hose, the tape recorder, and the seeds for the garden. These symbols represent Willy's final, desperate attempts to be successful and the failure he cannot escape.What is the symbolism of the flute in Death of a Salesman? ›
The flute made and played by Willy's father evokes the phallus passed by him to Willy, and by Willy to Happy and Biff, through procreation. It is a constant reminder of Willy's lin- eage. No other instrument or (for the father) occupation was appropriate. Willy refers frequently to death.What is the symbolism of the jungle in Death of a Salesman? ›
In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, the jungle symbolically represents the world of business. Willy has a conversation with his dead brother, Ben, and Ben tells Willy that he was in the jungle for four years before he came out a successful businessman. Ben was in Africa, mining for diamonds.What does the woman symbolize in the Death of a Salesman? ›
Not only does she function as the plot device that disillusions Biff Loman about his father's identity, she also serves as a ghost of truthfulness throughout Miller's play.What does the American Dream symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
The American Dream in Death of a Salesman
Willy has acted on the belief that charisma guarantees prosperity. He has been a true believer in the American Dream and the notion that success is available to every American. Success to Willy is more than the ability to provide for himself and his family.
What does Happy represent in Death of a Salesman? Happy in Death of a Salesman represents the worst aspect of Willy's American Dream. He has learned from his father's idea of self-image and how people think of you as a person. He wants to be well-liked and does not cultivate good character.
What does the refrigerator symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
The refrigerator reflects the idea of the American Dream. Willy's distorted views on being successful are reflected on his refrigerator. He states that if he had the more popular General Electric one like Charley then it would likely last longer, while comparing his Hastings refrigerator as being unknown.What are some examples of symbolism in a story? ›
For example, a storm brewing on the horizon must be a symbol of the emotional turmoil that the main character is going through; or, the black car that the main character drives is a foreshadowing of his death; and so on. It's important to remember that sometimes a storm on the horizon simply represents bad weather.What is an example of symbolism in a short story? ›
For example, the color white stands for purity, black represents evil, roses stand for romance, a butterfly symbolizes transformation and a dog can represent loyalty.What is an example of symbolism in a sentence? ›
Examples from Collins dictionaries
The scene is so rich in symbolism that any explanation risks spoiling the effect. The symbolism of every gesture will be of vital importance during the short state visit.
So, the car that was once a positive aspect of Willy's life (freedom, popularity, income) has now become an obstacle. So much so, it ends up being the death of him. The car also symbolizes his view of himself and his surroundings.What is the significance or symbolism of the name Loman? ›
The name Loman is boy's name of Irish origin meaning "small bare one or delicate".What are the symbols that are used by the authors What do they represent in the story of an hour? ›
Symbols, such as the setting, Louise's heart trouble, and the open window, play an integral role in the development of “The Story of an Hour”, as they are used to reinforce the overarching theme of the desire for independence.What does the football symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
Biff stole the football, so its a symbol of deceit and lies. It is a symbol of Biff's hopeful future, he burnt it after seeing his father's affair because he no longer believed in him, thus did not have a parent figure to assist him to his hopeful future.What does the woods are burning symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
Then he says, "The woods are burning! I cant drive a car!" Willy mentioning that the "woods are burning" is symbolic of how his life is falling apart: he can't achieve the American Dream, his two sons are not helping him, and the rest of the events unfold as the story develops.What does the color gold symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
gold is a color that represents success, prosperity, happiness, wealth, power etc.
What does the moon symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
Ardolino in Like father, like sons: Miller's negative use of sports imagery in Death of a Salesman associated the moon as a symbol of lunacy (33). Willy's contradictions as seen in some of the dialogues signalled his apparent mental instability.What does the tennis racket symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
The tennis racket Willy observes when he chats with Bernard in Charley's office is a symbol of Bernard's success and Biff's failure.What does Biff symbolize in Death of a Salesman? ›
Biff reminds us that the American Dream is not every man's dream. Rather than seeking money and success, Biff wants a more basic life. He wants to be seen and loved for who he is. He wants his dad to stop being such a deluded twerp.How does Nick symbolize the American Dream? ›
Nick believes the American Dream is no longer alive and the reason for it is that we can't overcome the past . Nick's past , not having an upper class family , is the reason why he is never going to be equal to East Egg people (Old money ) . ““I wouldn't ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can't repeat the past.”Why is Daisy a symbol of the American Dream? ›
Daisy represents the American Dream in The Great Gatsby because for one, she is rich, which is the promise of the dream, or at least the promise of the potential people have. Both wealth and Daisy are sought after but not everyone can attain either. Daisy is also from a family of high standing.What can be seen as a symbol of the American Dream? ›
Examples of the American Dream include owning your own house, starting a family, and having a stable job or owning your own business.What is the main theme of Death of a Salesman? ›
Denial, contradiction, and the quest for order versus disorder comprise the three major themes of Death of a Salesman. All three themes work together to create a dreamlike atmosphere in which the audience watches a man's identity and mental stability slip away.What does Willy's garden symbolize? ›
In the play Death of a Salesman, the garden symbolizes growth and hope. Early in the story, Linda Loman criticizes Willy's desire to plant a garden because the apartments surrounding their house will not allow enough sunlight for a garden to grow.What are examples of symbolic death? ›
In Europe, the skull and crossbones emerged as a symbol of death about 600 years ago.What is an example of symbolism in a story? ›
For example, a storm brewing on the horizon must be a symbol of the emotional turmoil that the main character is going through; or, the black car that the main character drives is a foreshadowing of his death; and so on. It's important to remember that sometimes a storm on the horizon simply represents bad weather.
Which situation is an example of symbolism? ›
In other words, the term symbolism simply means that something is being used to convey meaning associated with something else. When a symbol (like a heart) is used to symbolize something (like love), that's a real-world example of what symbolism is.What is the symbolism of flute in Death of a Salesman? ›
The flute made and played by Willy's father evokes the phallus passed by him to Willy, and by Willy to Happy and Biff, through procreation. It is a constant reminder of Willy's lin- eage. No other instrument or (for the father) occupation was appropriate. Willy refers frequently to death.What is the symbolic representation of death? ›
The human skull is an obvious and frequent symbol of death, found in many cultures and religious traditions.What are examples of symbolic representations? ›
Symbolic representation is traditionally defined as the representation of a principal, a nation for example, through a symbol, such as a flag, that evokes particular meanings and emotions about the nation (Pitkin 1967).What symbolizes death in writing? ›
A dagger, obelisk, or obelus † is a typographical mark that usually indicates a footnote if an asterisk has already been used. The symbol is also used to indicate death (of people) or extinction (of species).What are the 3 types of symbolism? ›
Using symbols can create a powerful story that uncovers universal truths. Three key types of symbolism in literature are religious, romantic, and emotional symbolism.What is a good example of symbolism in poetry? ›
O my luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June; O my luve's like the melodie That's sweetly played in tune. In these lines from a poem by Robert Burns “love” is compared to “a red, red rose,” which suggests passion and intimacy.What are the 4 types of symbols? ›
- logo (trade mark)
The meaning of a literary symbol must be established and supported by the entire context of the story. The symbol has its meaning in the story, not outside it. To be called a symbol, an item must suggest a meaning different in kind from its literal meaning; a symbol is something more than its class or type.Is symbolism an example of imagery? ›
Symbolism refers to the use of representational imagery: the writer employs an image with a deeper, non-literal meaning, for the purpose of conveying complex ideas. In literature, symbolism is the use of a concrete image to represent an abstract idea. For example, the heart is often employed as a symbol of love.
What is the symbolism of the jungle Death of a Salesman? ›
In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, the jungle symbolically represents the world of business. Willy has a conversation with his dead brother, Ben, and Ben tells Willy that he was in the jungle for four years before he came out a successful businessman. Ben was in Africa, mining for diamonds.