Tragedy Analysis Part II: Death of a Salesman

Tragedy Analysis Part II: Death of a Salesman

Opening Scene

Happy is a highly competitive person and he has no principles whatsoever, except for those related to competitiveness and capitalism, and shallow values imposed by his father. He is also fairly insecure. He is a younger version of Willy; Willy who fails to realize that Biff is no longer the overachieving child that inhabited his memory.

Symbolism and Characters Associated with Them

Death of a SalesmanThe symbol represented by a flute which is related to Willy’s father, who was a flute maker, represents a happier life that Willy could have led, had he not chosen a shallow, competitive carrier as a salesman. As Biff puts it, Willy was good with his hands; he could have done well for himself if he had pursued a carrier in handcrafting like his father. The flute music entails the dreamy-like, delusional state of mind Willy had become a victim of. The stockings are a reference to Willy’s affair. The woman’s laughter echoes in Willy’s mind throughout the play, constantly reminding him of his past sins and how he tries to get away from them, and how they contributed to ruining his life and Biff’s. The fountain pen reminds viewers of Biff’s habit of stealing and how he cannot escape his true nature. The seeds symbolize Willy‚Äôs last attempt at sowing something fruitful for the future. A legacy he can leave for his family after his death.

Character Names: Meaning and Significance

Biff’s name references his big, football player-like complexion, and Happy is not really happy, on the contrary, he cannot seem to find his place in the world and he is insecure. He always tries to adjust with other people’s opinions, get their approval and his father’s approval and tries to appeal to everyone. Willy’s name can perhaps be associated with will power. It is a nice story.