American Beauty and Death of a Salesman

“In order to achieve personal fulfilment sacrifices have to be made” How have the contexts of the composers of Death of a Salesman and American Beauty shaped their representation of sacrifice?

Both the author of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, and director Sam Mendes of American Beauty use context to influence their representation of sacrifice, however though the sacrifices are similar the causes and influences differ. Personal fulfilment is expected from sacrifice however it is not necessarily achieved as a result. Death of a Salesman reflects the 1940s – 50s era post depression; American Beauty has the defined context of late 1990’s. In Death of a Salesman and American Beauty the beauty of nature is sacrificed for a characters personal fulfilment as represented through characterisation. In continuation context shapes the sacrifice of honesty and integrity through the use of motifs and symbolism throughout both texts. Ultimately relationships are sacrificed by the characters of American Beauty and Death of a Salesman; the consequence and catalyst influenced by the differing time periods.        
Sacrifice of integrity and honesty occurs throughout Death of a Salesman and American Beauty, by the characters in order to try and achieve personal fulfilment. Miller represents the sacrifice and its effect as honesty and integrity is sacrificed by Willy, to reach his superficial ideals of popularity and success. Willy’s guilt is a result as shown by the stage direction “[angrily, taking them from her]” as he “won’t have” Linda “mending stockings in this house!”. This action places emphasis on the imperative, exhorting his guilt onto Linda. The stockings motif serves as a reminder of his dishonesty, betrayal of integrity and inability to provide for the family, an attitude that was greatly valued during the mid 20th century. The emotive language communicates his unfulfilled life from the sacrifice of these values. In Death of a Salesman Miller has represented...