The play is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments, all of which make up the last 24 hours of Willy Loman's life. The play concludes with Willy's suicide and subsequent funeral. Miller uses the Loman family — Willy, Linda, Biff, and Happy — to construct a self-perpetuating cycle of denial, contradiction, and order versus disorder. Willy had an affair over 15 years earlier than the real time within the play, and Miller focuses on the affair and its aftermath to reveal how individuals can be defined by a single event and their subsequent attempts to disguise or eradicate the event.
At the root of such crises lie feelings of shame. In fact, Bernard Williams examines the relation and distinction between shame and guilt in his study of ancient Greek tragedy and ethics, Shame and Necessity.
Williams states that We can feel both guilt and shame towards the same action. In a moment of cowardice, we let someone down; we feel guilty because we have let them down, ashamed because we have contemptibly fallen short of what we might have hoped of ourselves….
Only shame can do that, because it embodies conceptions of what one is and of how one is related to others. It is the confrontation with feelings of shame that enables Biff to find himself, separate his sense of identity from that of his father, and empathize with his father.
Moreover, it is the denial of such feelings that cripples Willy and the rest of the Loman family. Until Biff stops to examine who he is, while in the process of stealing the fountain pen of his old boss, Bill Oliver, feelings of shame determine his self-perception as well as his conduct.
In fact, because Willy is abandoned at the age of three by his father, his elder brother, Ben, becomes the measure of success and manhood for his sons to live up to.
Early in the play, we see Biff through the proud memory of his father. Biff inherits from his father an extremely fragile sense of self-worth dependent on the perceptions of others.
Shame, together with the sense of inadequacy and inferiority manifest in the need to prove oneself to others, is evident in both Loman sons, and of course, in the fatherless father, Willy. Willy is driven to commit his greatest wrong by feelings of shame that arise out of his sense of inadequacy as a man.
A man oughta come in with a few words. One thing about Charley. WILLY, with great feeling: On the road—on the road I want to grab you sometimes and just kiss the life outa you.
But at the root of his loneliness and his need of a woman are feelings of shame he cannot face. He is driven by feelings of inadequacy and failure to seek himself outside of himself, in the eyes of others.
But, unlike his father, he faces, and learns from, his shame. Consequently, the play suggests that he can rebuild his sense of self-worth and re-establish his relation to others on healthier grounds.
He makes sense of his guilt by confronting the shame buried deep in his sense of identity. Ultimately, the ability to do so enables him to empathize with his father.
His own desires and needs cannot hold him still. Thus the source of his sense of identity in shame goes unquestioned.
He does not, however, reconcile this image of his father with his sense of himself. Not, that is, until he is in the process of stealing a fountain pen belonging his old boss, Bill Oliver. On the other hand, he also feels extremely ashamed of himself.
The fact that he steals does not, however, bother his father too much. Guilt can be concealed and, perhaps, forgiven and forgotten. Willy suggests as much when he advises Biff to say to Oliver: He knows that he cannot bear to be seen the classic sign of shame by Oliver.
He can no longer separate his sense of himself from the act of stealing.In Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman is an individual who strives to achieve the “American Dream” in the ’s. This era was characterized by America’s climb out of the Great Depression in addition to its recognition as a world superpower following World War II.
The Character of Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Linda is the heart of the Loman family in Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman. She is wise, warm, and sympathetic. She knows her husband's faults and her son's characters. Death of a Salesman is a play written by American playwright Arthur Miller.
It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadway in February , running for performances, and has been revived on Broadway four times,  winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival.
A list of all the characters in Death of a Salesman. The Death of a Salesman characters covered include: Willy Loman, Biff Loman, Linda Loman, Happy Loman, Charley, Bernard, Ben, The Woman, Howard Wagner, Stanley, Miss Forsythe and Letta, Jenny. that will address the notion of identity in Arthur Miler’s Death of a Salesman.
How far can one go, starting from a number of symptoms, in order to reconstruct from a . " Death of a Salesman exhibits the mind of Willy Lowman as it deteriorates through repeated disappointments and unattained aspirations.
Many factors contribute to this process: obstinate faith in the American Dream and a need to prove oneself as a hero of the American way of life breeds deception of family members and himself.