In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses symbolism to develop ideas and themes in the story. The three main symbols that arise from Death of a Salesman are Willy’s necktie, a rubber tree plant, and the family business. One symbol that is used frequently throughout Death Of A Salesman is Willy Loman’s necktie. Willy’s necktie symbolizes his own sense of masculinity and the “idea of success. ” The first time Willy ever wore a necktie was when he got married to Linda, which is why they are always associated with each other.
Death Of A Salesman deals with themes that have become very important in today’s society- materialism, success vs failure, depression…the list goes on and on. Death Of A Salesman is full of symbolism which helps set the tone and mood of each scene. Whether or not you are familiar with Death Of A Salesman , it should come as no surprise that Death Of A Salesman is a play filled with symbolism.
Death Of A Salesman features a multitude of characters, each covered in detail later on in the essay. The main character is Willy Loman, a salesman who has been passed by as younger men take his place. His wife Linda tells him constantly to retire and enjoy life, but Willy brushes this advice aside as he holds onto his dream of success and happiness.
Death Of A Salesman takes place around the time of World War I, but Willy’s two sons are hardly mentioned besides their absence from work- Biff works as an assistant golf pro at a local country club and Happy was somehow able to get into West Point Military Academy. The action occurs mostly at the home of Willy and Linda Loman. Death Of A Salesman explores many themes- Death, Success vs Failure, Money…
One very apparent theme in Death Of A Salesman is Death. Death appears in the title of the play, “Death Of A Salesman”, but that isn’t where it ends. Death shows up again and again throughout this play, symbolizing failure more often than not. At one point early on, Linda says to her father:
“You’re right dad… what’s it all about? I sit there at the table with them..the folks..I’m ‘miserable’ . They get so dull at time l can’t stand it. And then I think how it’s going to be even worse when they’re dead.”
Death Of A Salesman is about Willy Loman, a man who has lived his life in Death. Death may not have physical power over Willy, but Death does have mental power over him. Death of a salesman is prevalent throughout Death Of A Salesman , whether the topic of conversation is it or not. Death shows up on stage more than once- Death of Biff’s best friend/ Willy’s Dear Brother Ben, Death Of Linda’s child (a stillborn baby) possibly due to prenatal complications which are never detailed….the list goes on.
Throughout Death Of A Salesman, Willy wears different colors of ties but they still have the same meaning behind them. When Willy is feeling hopeful about life his tie is always loosened, but as things get worse for him he tightens it more and more. His wife also plays into this symbolism because whenever Linda talks about how terrible she feels, she pulls at her husband’s tie to “loosen” the situation up. Arthur Miller wrote Death Of A Salesman before World War II, making it a time when men were the breadwinners of the home.
Thus, Willy Loman represents what was expected of men during that era by being a successful traveling salesman who has achieved some sort of “life-success” for himself. Although he later begins to see himself as less successful than his coworkers, he still wears his tie proudly because of what it signifies, that is, masculinity and success. A symbol that Death Of A Salesman uses often is the Loman family business itself. When you’re first introduced to Death Of A Salesman ,for example, there are two people talking about Willy’s funeral and how “the house on Walton street had been sold.
That statement immediately puts an image in your head about the Loman family business and how eventually it had to be sold because Willy couldn’t pay his bills anymore. When you hear Death Of A Salesman mentioned again, the first thing that comes to mind is “the house was on Walton street. ” Death Of A Salesman goes into much more detail about this symbol when it discusses the Wilsons’ garage being bought by a man named Charley . The symbolism behind this is that now there are two salesmen living in one home instead of an “old-fashioned” owner running the show.
This represents how society has evolved from having people take charge of their own lives to having bigger companies come in and run everything instead. The last main symbol used throughout Death Of A Salesman is Biff’s rubber tree plant. This symbol is used throughout the story because “the Lomans represent everything… Biff can’t stand. ” The rubber tree itself symbolizes how Willy and Biff feel about themselves because, like the tree, they are useless.
This is why Death Of A Salesman brings up the plant so much to foreshadow what happens at the end of the story when both Biff and his dad pass away. Death Of A Salesman brings up this plant again when Happy comes home from school for Christmas break because he’s “so disgusted with himself that he can’t stand it. ” Death Of A Salesman ties all three of its symbols together during Willy’s funeral because it refers to three main symbols in one sentence. Death Of A Salesman says, “Willy Loman did not die…
He willed himself… into a sleep from which none of us can wake him. ” This sentence refers to the fact that Willy’s tie was loosened during his funeral and has been loosened ever since he died. Death Of A Salesman also references back to the rubber tree plant when Biff tosses it away because now neither of them is useful anymore. Death Of A Salesman uses symbolism in many different ways throughout the play but these three main symbols stick out as some of most important ones.