Point of View in the Novel Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

  • Added:
    Jan 26, 2013
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The play “Death of a Salesman” focuses entirely on a third person point of view. Arthur Miller`s intention is to describe emotional and financial problems that he had experienced in his lifetime.

The Great Depression and the image of millions of people who did not obtain the American Dream greatly influenced this play. That`s why financial and emotional problems of ordinary, poor, hard-working people affect the theme of the play. The author wants the reader/audience to understand these problems by portraying the lives of the characters. Arthur Miller`s point of view is realistic and because of that the characters are overall believable for they are meant to portray “realism”. They have emotional difficulties and financial burdens. Willy Loman is in his early sixties and he is delusional, short-tempered and stubborn. He is not able to understand reality and he talks to himself. Biff Loman (34) is stubborn, insecure and pressured has greater understanding than the other characters. He is finding himself. Happy Loman (32) still thinks that he will be successful. He wants to pursue his father`s dream. Linda Loman (late fifties) is patient, understanding and loyal. She is very supportive of her husband. The house is situated between apartments. There are no trees or plants around.

This kind of setting is chosen to set up a city-like, urban atmosphere towards the realistic “common man`s” life. The language is informal and the sentences are short in order to display concise meaning for easy understanding. But in sentences where flashbacks occur, Willy`s long speeches offer an atmosphere of confusion. Arthur Miller didn`t use any figurative language. His main goal was to maintain an informal and plain writing that would develop through the understanding the lives of the characters. He wants to fully demonstrate the shabby lifestyle and dissatisfied lives of ordinary working people. He uses ironic devices and his tone is serious. Through seriousness the play achieves its realism status and emphasizes that real life is a serious matter. This play is written in accordance to the traditional style of social realism.

The author chose third person point of view in order to let us know exactly how the characters feel. He does not participate in the action of the play as one of the characters, but we learn about the characters through this outside voice. Miller`s values and attitudes are reflected in his writing. Miller uses his main character, Willy Loman, to heighten the audience to the nature of modern life. “Death of a Salesman” closely fits the convention of a tragedy. Willy`s character has big dreams which never become reality. He ends up killing himself in an attempt to pursue his misguided dreams for his favorite son, Biff.                 

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