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Posted on April 21st, 2014, by

Question 4:

Using the concepts from The Poetics analyze the major elements of Death of a Salesman.

The subject of the play is tragedy since the play uncovers the tragic story of Willy and his family.

Methods used by the author of the play combine dialogues and monologues.

The plot of the story focuses on Willy and his family. Willy is losing his job of a salesman because he cannot afford traveling anymore. His American dream is ruined, although he pursued it all his life long. He is disenchanted because he expected his sons, especially Biff will achieve better results and make his American dream come true. However, they are not capable to succeed. Biff cannot start any business and is not going to follow the way of his father because he saw Willy with a woman in Boston’s hotel room and became grew in his father. As this truth becomes obvious, Willy hugs Biff and they can finally understand each other. Nevertheless, Willy still believes in his American dream and crushes his car and dies believing that Biff will use his insurance to start his business. However, Biff does not want to become a businessman, while Happy chooses the job his father used to do.

The characters of the play are Willy, his wife, Biff, and Happy, Charley, Bernard, Uncle Ben, Ms. Francis, Howard Wagner, Jenny, Stanley, Miss Forsythe, Letta.

The theme of the play is the pursuit of American dream by Biff and his failure to achieve it.

Question 5:

Compare the premises of each show in the last part of the class:

Six Characters in Search of an Author

Death of a Salesman


Angels in America

Which show most successfully fulfills its premise?

Six Characters in Search of an Author

The premise is that the director vision is different from the vision of the author of the play that leads to the different interpretation of the play by the director, while characters of the play uncover the true vision of the author.

Death of a Salesman

The premise of the play is that children should not follow the lead of their parents, for instance, in the pursuit of American dream, that leads to the disenchantment of Biff and Willy in American dream and diverts Willy from following the lead of his father, while Happy still remains naïve and chooses the job his father used to do.


The premise is that a person can make choices that defines his/her life that leads to the main character making their choices that define their life, since Lincoln chooses the legal job and is satisfied with it, while Booth sticks to illegal activities.

Angels in America

The premise of the play is that people should never give up and they should struggle for what they stand for that leads to positive changes and attainment of goals, people were struggling for as is the case of the main character, who is still alive, in spite of AIDS.

Topdog/Underdog fulfill the premise best of all because the play shows two different characters, who are in the identical position and environment. However, Lincoln proves to be able to lead a normal life, although his work is low-paid, while Booth failed to achieve any success in his career and remains a criminal.

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