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Techniques Used in Death of A Salesman

  • Word Count: 1703
  • Approx Pages: 7

Arthur Miller uses several techniques to characterize Willy, Biff, and Happy. His techniques serve to explain the reasons behind his characters actions, what actions they now take due to their history, and the result of the personal struggle they are each trying to learn how to manage. Each of these characters taken a wrong turn down the road of life and are now trying to rectify the damage they have inflicted upon themselves and others in their life.

Each character has a certain attribute that marks their defeat. Willy’s mark lies in his hallucinations of the past. These hallucinations are meant to represent all of his missed opportunities for a better life; either for himself or for his two sons, Biff in particular. The hallucinations that Willy has that are directed towards his own failure are the hallucinations about his brother Ben who made a fortune with timber in Alaska and died young. There are two elements used here that seem to play a great part in increasing the importance of these particular hallucinations. Ben made himself rich in a short amount of time and of his own doing, he represents the self made man, the antitheses of Willy’s career option, a salesman. Ben had to rely on nobody but himself to accomplish his goal, riches. The other point is that Ben died early. This seems to imply that Willy is more fixated on the reputation one leaves behind after death than the quality of ones life while it is being lived. With these two points in effect, Willy sees Ben as the person who is everything he ever wanted to be: everything Willy failed to become.

Miller uses Willy’s hallucinations to explain much of the history of the family. This technique is a way of indirectly telling the reader information needed to determine the state of the family he is representing. This allows the play to take on a puzzle effect; information must be pieced together from the past and present actions of characters. ...

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Techniques Used in Death of A Salesman. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:15, November 28, 2015, from