What should I take away from the play “Death of a Salesman”?

I have to write an essay on it for summer homework...I read the play and so far what I take away from it is that hard work will never pay off, and the world is full of actual and imagined betrayal. These themes/ideas (whatever they are) don't seem to fit with the essay prompt I was given (analyze how Miller's manipulation time contributes to the effectiveness of the work). So what SHOULD I have realized were some major themes that Miller conveyed via flashback?

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2 Responses to “What should I take away from the play “Death of a Salesman”?”

  1. recluses says:

    Hi Phil :) ,Death Of A Salesman: Willy Loman – A Man With A DreamDeath of A Salesman: Willy Loman – A Man With A DreamA common idea presented in literature is the issue of the freedom of theindividual in opposition to the controlling pressures of society. Willy Loman,the main character in Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, epitomizes this typeof person; one who looks to his peers and co-salesman as lesser individuals.Not only was he competitive and overbearing, but Willy Loman sought after anideal that he could never become: the greatest salesman ever. Determined tomake money, Willy became uncontrollable and somewhat insane. Through hisdialogue and actions, Willy Loman portrays a character of insecurity,persistence, and unknown identity.From the very beginning of his life, Willy Loman experienced problemswith his popularity and personality. His last name is a pun on a “low man.” Heis at the bottom of the business world as an unsuccessful salesman. In addition,his theories on life and society prove to be very degrading, not to mention. For more information here: [external link] …

  2. pozzi says:

    Actually hard work does pay off according to the play. Bernard is a success because he works hard, not because he is “well liked,” which seems to be a key to success for Willy. Linda’s loyalty to her husband, Willy’s false values and imbuing them in his sons, and his unfaithfulness are other themes.The flashbacks show that Willy believed luck and popularity were the keys to success.