Thursday, 16 June 2011

Death of a Salesman

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In any final scene of a drama, it has the significance of resolving the main conflicts in the play, and performs the function of a closure, or ending of the tale. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the final scene consists of different conflict views and from these different views; a resolution is made to complete the tale; which gives the audience the sense of understanding the characters, themes, conflicts, and how the resolution made it all seem clearer of why, who and what? The final scene shows the closure through the resolution that Willy has on the behalf of his favored son, Biff, Willy’s battle within himself, the society of people around him, and the views of his succession. From these revelations and resolutions, the drama is more understood and complete.

The last scene of Death of a Salesman is at Willy Loman’s funeral. The funeral is the resolution and performs the function of closure by contemplating how Willy lived his life the way he did, said the things he said, and died the way he died. In the end, all the pieces of the puzzled drama fall together, that is how the function of the closure is so evident. At the funeral the conflicts of success for Willy and Biff, Willy and his inner battle of failure at his financial life, and the lost relationship of father and son is laid to rest. The death of Willy the salesman also brought and end to his mental illness of hallucinations, and his emotional torment in his obstacle of a life.

The funeral is after the argument Willy has with his son Biff and the shocking surprise of Biff’s feelings for his father. Even before Willy’s death, he already had thoughts of a suicide, and talks to his hallucinated brother, Ben, about what would happen if he did kill himself. “Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?” (Regarding about Biff.) Willy’s greatest pride, hope, dream, and joy was his son Biff, and a successful career of a being a “well-liked” salesman. Willy debates on whether to pass his insurance money to Biff from his suicide.

In the end, after all the arguments with Biff’s soon departure and never coming back; and the confrontation of the rubber tube, Willy realizes that Biff has always loved him whether he was a successful, “well-liked” man or not. “Biff- he likes me!”- Willy… “He loves you, Willy!”- Linda… “Always did…”- Happy. This realization is the explanation and closure of Willy vs. Biff and their father-son relationship. From the lack of success, Willy thought Biff hated his father enough to spite him by his failure at an unsuccessful life. But in the latest scene all is revealed that though Biff is a grown man, and not a successful one of his father’s wishes, he still loved his father but he just wanted to be himself. This is a closure of the past family problems and the will of moving on. This closure also helps in part of the theme reality vs. illusion. The illusion of Biff’s hatred for his father was overcome with the reality of how he always loved his father, even after discovering his dad with another woman, yet Biff only wanted Willy to accept him for who he really is. That no one is perfect and not everyone’s dreams come true and that Biff is just realistic and not idealistic.

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Willy killed himself in a car accident to have the insurance money passed to Biff and provide for him. Willy must have felt that it was the only way to succeed in providing for his family, while as he lived he really couldn’t do anything. Willy’s death explains the reason he died, which is a key element in the closure of the drama. The death was due to the fact that though Willy was a failure in his obligations of financial mortgages, failure at faithfulness to his wife, and suffering from emotional torment, Willy was willing to sacrifice his life for the success of the lives of his family members.

This is a great conclusion to explain why Willy tried to kill himself from the start and why he kept remembering possibilities and things that he did to which could of caused Biff’s lost of interest in his father, (which drove him mentally ill.) Willy’s death also completed another part of the theme reality vs. illusion. It help complete how the illusion of a mentally ill man, was in reality a man of great desires and knew only how to express and explain them through flashbacks and hallucinations. He was not just an old man; he was a very talented man and just couldn’t handle failure.

The funeral is the final scene where everything is laid to rest and at peace. Especially the theme of illusion vs. reality, because of Willy the illusions existed and with him gone, he takes it with him. Even though earlier things were resolved prior to the funeral scene, this section of the play is where it is most dramatic and the closure. It is the closure because it completes the theme of reality vs. illusion, and end of the main conflicts; plus the conclusion how Willy affected everyone. The last scene helps gather all the facts and conflicts to one place to be solved and finish. The funeral is where Willy takes his leave and with him, all the conflicts revolving internally and externally around him.

At the funeral the character reveal their thoughts and feelings of Willy. They look down at his grave, yet seemed so inspired by him as an individual they never really regard him as a father, friend, co-worker or husband. This is the final illusion and reality, of a man who looked like a father, friend, co-worker, brother, son, and husband, but in reality he was as normal as anyone. “Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.”- Charley. Even though this is what the society of people around him saw Willy, he himself did not realize what a great person he was. “He never knew who he was.”- Biff

Willy was a person with unlimited dreams and desires, a man who did what he had to do, thought what he thought, and in the end though he did not conquer all of his goals, he lived a life of a normal human being with anger, passion, family, failure, and success. This is a closure, it brings the audience to an “awe-struck” moment of what a man went through, and why he went through all that he did which helped greatly define what kind of a man he was. The ending is where things are reflected, reviewed and understood of why the characters did what they did, who and what kind of person they were. The closure is evident in bringing all the story and final resolutions to an ending point where everything was laid and nicely smoothed out in a dwindling way.

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