Death of a Salesman

Theme | Quote | Technique | How is it relevant |
Reality vs Illusion |     * ‘Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?’   * “I’m the New England man. I’m vital in New England”   * ‘I've got to get some seeds. I've got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing's planted. I don't have a thing in the ground.’   * “I have such thoughts, such strange thoughts”   * |     * Rhetorical Question   * Metaphor   * Symbolism   * Repetition |     * Willy is not ‘remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?’ Willy is not ‘well-liked’, making the audiences aware that Willy is old and not the salesman he was in the past.   * He believes himself to be vital to the company, but in reality it's the company that's vital to him and his feelings of self worth. When he discovers that he isn't vital anywhere, his worldview crumbles.   * Willy realizes that his whole career has built up to nothing. He worked for 40 years and has nothing to show for it. This leads to his obsession with seeds late in the play - it is too late to grow anything for his sons, but at least he can plant some vegetables, something that will outlast him and provide some use. It symbolises the legacy that Willy never leaves for his father.     * This elucidates that his illusions are a significant part of his life. He lives in the past because of these illusions |
The American Dream |     * Willy: “No, no, some people - some people accomplish something.”   * Biff: “He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.”   * “I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why” |     * Repetition Exclusive Language   * Repetition   * |     * Doesn’t have that American Dream   * Willy wanted the wrong things and that’s what lead to his downfalls.     * He is so obsessed with the American Dream and he believes he can achieve it himself. |