History YMMV / DeathOfASalesman

14th Jun '16 11:47:39 AM CJCroen1393
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* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Played With. Willy plans for his death to obtain big insurance money for his family to compensate for all the grief he caused for them or/and so he can live his ideals through Biff. A defied trope since he really gains nothing out of it.




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* TheWoobie: The entire Loman family, but Biff and Linda stand out.
26th Dec '15 4:35:55 PM nombretomado
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* AlternateAesopInterpretation: Some argue that rather than being a deconstruction of the AmericanDream, the play comes off as more of a reconstruction of the American Dream the way Bernard's character is presented. He's portrayed as being diligent, studious, and hard-working to the point of criticizing Biff for blowing off school. Willy and his family on the other hand, while they dream big, don't seem willing to put in the effort needed to live the lives they want. In the end, Bernard's work ethic pays off and he grows up to be a wealthy lawyer and Willy is dependent on his money.

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* AlternateAesopInterpretation: Some argue that rather than being a deconstruction of the AmericanDream, UsefulNotes/TheAmericanDream, the play comes off as more of a reconstruction of the American Dream the way Bernard's character is presented. He's portrayed as being diligent, studious, and hard-working to the point of criticizing Biff for blowing off school. Willy and his family on the other hand, while they dream big, don't seem willing to put in the effort needed to live the lives they want. In the end, Bernard's work ethic pays off and he grows up to be a wealthy lawyer and Willy is dependent on his money.



** Another reading, though certainly not Miller's intent, is that the AmericanDream is ultimately played brutally ''straight'' in Willy's case. If the American Dream implies change above all else, mainly the change from poor to rich, then it certainly also implies that those seeking to achieve it may need to change what they're doing to achieve it. Rather than find a new career, develop new skills, or make himself useful in a different area of his current field that wasn't dying, Willy blundered ahead as a travelling salesman (though he did try to get a desk job), always believing that the Dream was in reach if he could only become sufficiently well-liked. According to this reading, the Dream didn't fail Willy, Willy failed the Dream.

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** Another reading, though certainly not Miller's intent, is that the AmericanDream UsefulNotes/TheAmericanDream is ultimately played brutally ''straight'' in Willy's case. If the American Dream implies change above all else, mainly the change from poor to rich, then it certainly also implies that those seeking to achieve it may need to change what they're doing to achieve it. Rather than find a new career, develop new skills, or make himself useful in a different area of his current field that wasn't dying, Willy blundered ahead as a travelling salesman (though he did try to get a desk job), always believing that the Dream was in reach if he could only become sufficiently well-liked. According to this reading, the Dream didn't fail Willy, Willy failed the Dream.
9th Nov '15 7:06:04 PM TotemicHero
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Added DiffLines:

* HarsherInHindsight: The play disturbingly turned out to be somewhat predictive, as [[http://www.vox.com/2015/11/7/9684928/angus-deaton-white-mortality a 2015 study]] revealed that many, many middle-aged men in the U.S. were basically going through a 21st century version of what Willy Loman went through, with tragic consequences. So many deaths of so many "salesmen"...
22nd Feb '15 10:41:09 PM BillyDeeWilliams
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Added DiffLines:

** Another reading, though certainly not Miller's intent, is that the AmericanDream is ultimately played brutally ''straight'' in Willy's case. If the American Dream implies change above all else, mainly the change from poor to rich, then it certainly also implies that those seeking to achieve it may need to change what they're doing to achieve it. Rather than find a new career, develop new skills, or make himself useful in a different area of his current field that wasn't dying, Willy blundered ahead as a travelling salesman (though he did try to get a desk job), always believing that the Dream was in reach if he could only become sufficiently well-liked. According to this reading, the Dream didn't fail Willy, Willy failed the Dream.
16th Nov '14 12:29:00 PM Bobchillingworth
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Added DiffLines:

** Between his memory loss, hallucinations, random emotional outbursts and difficulty operating even relatively simple machinery, Willy appears to be suffering from some undiagnosed form of dementia, possibly early-onset Alzheimers.
4th Sep '14 4:47:20 AM SeptimusHeap
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* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical: Some politically conservative and/or pro-capitalist critics [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch have claimed]] that it is intended as a TakeThat to Capitalism in general. Though Miller in his earlier years had associated with individuals that were black listed, but to evaluate the play solely from this perspective would cause one to miss many of the aforementioned themes on this page and the Main Page. As a counterpoint, it is also worth mentioning that Biff does manage to find success within the capitalist system (though not through the traditional American Dream, which is what Miller's criticism, regarding its excessive materialism, is the intended target for), thus making the argument of this play as anti-capitalistic problematic.

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* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical: Some politically conservative and/or pro-capitalist critics [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch have claimed]] claimed that it is intended as a TakeThat to Capitalism in general. Though Miller in his earlier years had associated with individuals that were black listed, but to evaluate the play solely from this perspective would cause one to miss many of the aforementioned themes on this page and the Main Page. As a counterpoint, it is also worth mentioning that Biff does manage to find success within the capitalist system (though not through the traditional American Dream, which is what Miller's criticism, regarding its excessive materialism, is the intended target for), thus making the argument of this play as anti-capitalistic problematic.
23rd Aug '14 3:31:14 PM bt8257
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* EnsembleDarkhorse: Biff -- Miller himself even acknowledged it.

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* EnsembleDarkhorse: EnsembleDarkHorse: Biff -- Miller himself even acknowledged it.
23rd Aug '14 3:30:18 PM bt8257
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* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical: Some politically conservative and/or pro-capitalist critics [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch have claimed]] that it is intended as a TakeThat to Capitalism in general. Though Miller in his earlier years had associated with individuals that were black listed, but to evaluate the play solely from this perspective would cause one to miss many of the aforementioned themes on this page and the Main Page. As a counterpoint, it is also worth mentioning that Biff does manage to find success within the capitalist system (though not through the traditional American Dream, which is what Miller's criticism, regarding it's excessive materialism, is the intended target), thus making the argument of this play as anti-capitalistic problematic.

to:

* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical: Some politically conservative and/or pro-capitalist critics [[ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch have claimed]] that it is intended as a TakeThat to Capitalism in general. Though Miller in his earlier years had associated with individuals that were black listed, but to evaluate the play solely from this perspective would cause one to miss many of the aforementioned themes on this page and the Main Page. As a counterpoint, it is also worth mentioning that Biff does manage to find success within the capitalist system (though not through the traditional American Dream, which is what Miller's criticism, regarding it's its excessive materialism, is the intended target), target for), thus making the argument of this play as anti-capitalistic problematic.
15th Apr '14 6:36:25 PM Tuckerscreator
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** [[spoiler:In addition to their obsession with popularity, Willy and Biff do not realize the amount of effort needed to achieve their dreams. To illustrate, Charlie's son Bernard works hard to become a successful lawyer and Uncle Ben goes into the jungle for four years to find diamonds and come out rich. On the other hand, Willy and Biff are always looking for an easy way out and that's why they ultimately fail in life.]]

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** [[spoiler:In In addition to their obsession with popularity, Willy and Biff do not realize the amount of effort needed to achieve their dreams. To illustrate, Charlie's son Bernard works hard to become a successful lawyer and Uncle Ben goes into the jungle for four years to find diamonds and come out rich. On the other hand, Willy and Biff are always looking for an easy way out and that's why they ultimately fail in life.]]
15th Apr '14 6:31:54 PM Atha
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*** No offense intended to the above poster, but his understanding of capitalism as an economic system seems a bit idiosyncratic to me. Capitalism refers to a system in which there is a capitalist class, the Haves, who control the means of production and a working class, the Have-nots, who work for a living. Bernard, as a lawyer, is decidedly not a capitalist because he must, explicitly, exchange his labour for income. Charlie might be, but it's not clear whether he actually owns his own business or whether he's simply in a high enough position to get his friend hired.

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*** No offense intended to the above poster, but his understanding of capitalism as an economic system seems a bit idiosyncratic to me. Capitalism refers to a system in which there is a capitalist class, the Haves, who control the means of production and a working class, the Have-nots, who work for a living. Bernard, as a lawyer, is decidedly not a capitalist because he must, explicitly, exchange his labour for income. Charlie might be, but it's not clear whether he actually owns his own business or whether he's simply in a high enough position to get his friend hired.
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