Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
During Death of a Salesman, a woman's laugh is heard repeatedly. This woman is revealed later to be the main character's mistress. During the final test, I subconsciously listed it along with the Leitmotifs and then I reread what I'd written. Cue the Eureka moment. —WL (not a registered troper)
Why is Willy so obsessed with personal attractiveness and thinks it's the key to success? Because he's a salesman, and for salesmen, personal attractiveness IS their bread and butter.
...which adds a metaphor of the title: it's not just WILLY's death, it's the death of his salesman-like ideals! Brilliant! -Black Humor
One of the themes of the play is how the father will oftentimes foist his perceived failings onto his children, seeing them as the ones who will make up for them through their own success, seen in Willy's relationship with Biff and Happy. Now, think about his jealousy regarding Charlie's success, Bernard's success, and his older brother Ben's success and how Happy, the younger brother, decides to stay in New York and "fight the good fight" at the end of the play while Biff decides to leave New York to seek his own fortunes. And now lets remember how Ben left America for years and found his wealth in South America.
So what's the say, now, that Ben wasn't raised in a similar manner by his father, and he decided to seek his fortune elsewhere, outside of the so-called "American Dream"? And, building on that, what's to say that Ben and Willy's father didn't pass this onto Willy, when he was born, and that's why Ben was, at first, so adamant to give Willy part of his fortune in order to break the cycle!? Essentially, the end of the play is the continuation of the Vicious Cycle, with Ben being represented by Biff and Willy being represented by Happy?
The point of Willy's death was that he would be able to give Biff and Happy the life insurance money so that they can start their own business. In Act II, Willy asks Charlie for the money to pay his life insurance. However, after the dinner, Willy attempts to give away all of the money to Stanley, showing that he still had the money to pay his life insurance. Any place where he could have made the payment would have closed by 6:00, which is when he goes to meet his children. Furthermore, it's known that the insurance company was already weary that Willy was trying to commit suicide, and probably wouldn't give them the payout, counting speculation. These two factors would essentially make Willy's sacrifice mean nothing.
This doesn't really count as Fridge Logic since it's, well, kind of the point.