Death Of A Salesman

Death Of A Salesman

?Death of a Salesman may center on personal and family breakdown but it also involves contradictions in national American ideals.? Discuss.

On the surface, Arthur Miller?s groundbreaking play, Death of a Salesman, does seem firmly rooted in the ?familial arena?. The whole play is structured to gradually reveal the deteriorating condition of Willy?s mind as well as the worsening relations of the entire Loman family, through a series of complex flashbacks. Beneath this, however, the structure of American society as a whole is analyzed and the ideals of the nation held up for review. Many of these come into conflict with each other, one often contradicting another, such as the ideal of the agricultural frontier versus that of the successful urban worker. The two issues are also essentially linked as it is the fact that Willy is often caught between two opposing ideals that lead to his personal breakdown, and the subsequent breakdown of his family.
Willy Loman?s personal breakdown is the central issue in the play, as the title suggests. Within the first few lines of the opening scene, the audience is confronted with a man in obvious mental distress and forced to ask; is he mad or merely exhausted

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