“Death of a Salesman” Act One Analysis

Updated May 5, 2022

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“Death of a Salesman” Act One Analysis essay

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Hopes and aspirations are taught to be fostered. It is common to move your entire life around in an attempt to reach your goals. In Arthur Miller’s renowned play “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Lerman is in a constant state of dreaming – he has begun to remove himself completely from society. Willy is unable to continue on a consistent train of thought as he is stuck between dreams and reality.

In the opening of the play Willy continuously contradicts himself. One second he calls Biff a “lazy bum” and a few lines past that he describes biff and “hardworking” and “anything but lazy” (Miller). Throughout this act, Willy is seen to be lost in thought. This daydreaming is emphasized by the playing of the flute, as ordered by the stage directions. A major point that illustrates Willy’s dreaming tendencies is The Women. This women is not given a name and audiences are not sure of her contraception, she is seen only through Willy’s daydreams. These illustrate the idea of hopes and dreams versus reality. For some, dreams become so vivid and visited that they replace reality; they dreams become a reality of their own. Willy dreams about the past, and the past and present begin to flow together as one timeline. It is seen that Willy sees his past with his family brighter than his present.

They still had hopes in the past and the tension felt in the present is gone. One must ask if Willy’s recollection of the past is the truth, or if in recollection he has created an idyllic family as an escape from present circumstances. There is a sort of reflection seen through Willy’s memories. He is attempting to see where he has gone wrong, and as an audience we can see the differences and growth, whether negative or positive, in each of the family members. Where Willy is lost in dreams of optimism and can’t distinguish dream from truth, Linda and Happy are both dreamers as well, but never get lost in their optimism, but stay focused on reality. Through this act we see the crushing weight that the past must have on Willy. He is disbanding his entire present self and reflecting on memories and hopes from the past. The severity of Willy’s dreams have led to his desecration – he becomes so focused on what could of been he forgets to remember what could be. Dream has enveloped his entire life and he is lost in another time.

“Death of a Salesman” Act One Analysis essay

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“Death of a Salesman” Act One Analysis. (2022, May 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/death-of-a-salesman-act-one-analysis/


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