Realism Realism is defined as an attempt to reproduce faithfully the surface appearance of life. “Death of a Salesman” can be termed as a realistic play in many ways. The play has characteristics of an everyday-life situation.
“Death of a Salesman” is almost equivalent to some families, in the way of Willy and Biffs disagreement on certain ideas. Willy Loman is upset with Biff because he has not settled down and found a good job. As Happy and Biff are in the bed talking, Biff tells Happy, “I tell ya, Hap, I don’t know what the future is. I don’t knowwhat I’m supposed to want.”(Miller 1642) Biff is unsure of his future.
Willy, as he is talking to Linda, says, “How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!”(1639) Willy is upset because he wants Biff to have a more productive life and to be very successful. I may not be as old as Biff is in the play, but I am in college and still trying to figure out my future. My parents are questioning me about my future but I am trying to be patient and decide on a great career.
My situation is like Biffs, except my parents are not mad at me for not deciding quickly. Willy has some mental problems, as many people do, that cause him to do out of the ordinary things. One of his mental problems is that he talks to himself. Willy is sitting in the kitchen by himself and starts talking to Biff as if he were in high school, “Just wanna be careful with those girls, Biff. Don’t make any promises. No promises of any kind.
Because a girl, y’know, they always believe what you tell em, and you’re very young, Biff, you’re too young to be talking seriously to girls.”(1646) I have known people who are getting old start to talk to a stranger as if that person were their own daughter or son. This is not an exact example of Willy’s problem but it is close. Many elderly people suffer from mental problems. I would say it is just a reality of growing old. After Willy’s funeral is over, Biff and Happy are talking to one another about their father.
Biff tells Happy that Willy did not know who he was. Happy is infuriated at Biff for his comment. Biff says, “I know who I am, kid.”(1706) Happy then says, “All right boy. I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can ever haveto come out number-one man.
He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.”(1706) After Happy says that, Biff gives Happy a hopeless glance because Biff knows he is going to turn out to be just like Willy, thinking that having money, being well-liked, living lavishly, and having power is the most important things in life.In someway it is the same as abused children. After their parents have gone or the kids have grown up and moved out, they are most likely going to be the same way to their children as their parents were to them. Happy is going to end up being a salesman who has the wrong perspective on the meaning of success. “Death of a Salesman is very much like some families or people in real life. Author Miller did an excellent job of making this play realistic.
Throughout my life, I have seen many families go through this same situation. Miller accomplished the attempt to make “Death of a Salesman” as real as life itself. References Miller, Author. “Death of a Salesman.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds.
X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York, NY Longman, 1999. 1636-1707.