Hamartia in Death of a Salesman, a Play By Arthur MillerHamartia in Death of a Salesman, a Play ByArthur Miller Kathy #questionnaire
This is the thread for those who will be reading Death of a Salesman, a March selection.
Post as you read along or you may wait till the end of March to post.
There is no need to post anything, so just relax, read and enjoy the play and any discussions that may result.
I just finished it this week and was very touched by it. I’ll may try to answer some of your questions, but I have the feeling that I missed to much reading the text for the first time and in English as well (foreign language to me).
For this Group I had to read the play three times and then I followed up by reading a few professional reviews.
The play looks simple, but underneath, it is far more complex than one would think.
@Kathy Wow, you’re very impressive! I fully agree that there’s more to discover every time you reread it. That’s why I’m sure that it won’t be the last time I’ve read this play.
For me it was the same with “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. I’ve read it twice in German and once in English and it got deeper every time I came back to it.
I had to mark up almost each page with a pencil as I read along.
I’ve recently read this myself, so commenting to follow the thread of conversation.
You may post at any time.
Hamartic plays by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman
A View from the Bridge
“One sees that there will be no ecstasy,” Madame Lhevine said. “And that is when the crisis comes.
It comes, you might say, when we see the future too clearly, and we see that it is a plain, an endless plain, and not what we had thought…a mountain with a glory at the top”.
” The Prophecy”
The above quotation is an excellent description of a major characteristic of a hamartic play, such as Death of a Salesman.
How does the human soul cope with a single tragedy or even a series of tragedies without melting out of existence?
In the novel, Woman in the Windown, the victim developed agrophobia as her coping mechanism against her tragedy.
Staying home, withdrawn from life, she attempted to protect herself ( her soul) against further misery, sorrow and despair.
Is tragedy a normal part of each human life?
Is human.life without tragedy possible?
While alive, does any human being escape the claws of tragedy and /or fate ?
The above, are a few general and simple questions, one may consider while reading Death of a Salesman.
Another subject for future discussions is the use of suicide as a coping mechanism.
To what extent and purpose did Willy Loman use suicide to cope with his demise ( or so he thought) as a human being and as a man?
A “life of quiet desperation”.
How might this phrase relate to the life of Willy Loman?
How does this phrase relate to your own.life?
What is ” The American Dream”?
Do you think Willy Loman lived this dream?
At funeral services,often times, the deceased is said ( by clergy) to have lived “The Good Life”.
Did Willy Loman live ” The Good Life”?
Why or why not?
What exactly is meant by “The Good Life”?
If a person repeatedly hears flute music, in the absence of flute music,what can one conclude concering the mental health/stability of this individual?
Willy Loman has repeated episodes of hallucinations but no apparent dream issues.
What is the difference between a dream and an.hallucination?
What do these hallucinations suggest about Willy Loman’s psychiatric state?
Is there a relation between hallucinations and a suicidal tendency ?
In what way did capitalism and consumerism contribute to Willy Loman’s employment problems, if in fact they actually did?
It appears that Willy Loman was a salesman of women’s stockings that were probably nylon.
During WW II, both nylon and silk were used in the War effort.Thus, both nylon and silk stockings were either rationed or.not available at all for purchase..
The only stockings that would have been available for American women would have been cotton stockings which were not popular with consumers.
So, one must wonder what type of stocking was priduced by Loman’s company, during the War, in order for it to stay afloat economically and as a result maintain Loman’s employment status.
It is not likely that Loman served in the military because of problems with his feet. So, it is very likely that Willy was consistently employed during WW II, as a salesman.
At times, Willy Loman’s father is mentioned during the Play. But, we still know very little about their relationship.
At times, flute music is heard or imagined by.Willy. Could this be the result of his psychosis?
Musical hallucinations usually occur in older people. Some causes are hearing impairment, brain damage, epilepsy, intoxication and psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and OCD.
Hearing impairment is not by itself sufficient to cause hallucinations.
The flute music in Death of a Salesman was possibly buried in Willy”s brain, but could not be accessed except when he was hallucinating.
Did some type of emotional trauma ( by his father) to.Willy cause the flute music to remain buried within his brain in a latent form, until it was unmasked by the stress of hallucination?
Is suicide a human right?
If suicide is a human right, is it also a.moral right?
What is Willy Loman’s tragic flaw?
“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Does this statement describe the tragedy of Willy Loman ‘s life?
One reason bad things happen to good people is bad planning during their stepwise and steady progression through life.
Why didn’t Willy Loman leave his life insurance proceeds to his wife, Linda?
Does Willy sound like Archie Bunker ( All in tbe Family) in the dismissive way he treats his wife?
Little did Willy or Biff realize that the value of their house in 1949( about $20 000) would increase to more than at least one million $$ in 2019. Ha Ha, NY City real estate.
The significance of the rubber tubing attached to the gas line is obvious.
But what above Willy’s Poker games? What is the significance of Poker to Death of a Salesman?
Is there any significance to Willy planning his death as such a violent event?
Not to be political, but how
has life improved for the American worker from 1949 to 2019 ?
You are assuming that it has improved. After WWII, the USA was in boom times so I’m not sure that I would agree with you about this.
Sarah Bowen Holloway
I see your point. Yestetday a GM factory in Ohio closed. The reason given by management was the fact.that Americans don’t want small cars today.They want larger cars/vans and the plant cannot produce the larger cars,
The closed plant is closing based on a business / economic decision.
Look at an LBean catalog. 99%of the goods are imported. Consider the effect om.Maine residents who used to work for Bean in one way or another.
I recently bought a container of prunes. I checked out the expiration date and that’s where I found that my prunes were produced in Mexico.
I thought they used to come from California.
I recenty bought a pair of ordinary jeans
I checked the label at home, and found that my jeans came from Mexico.
Trade agreements are causing major shifts in tne economic future of the US and the American worker.
One big social occurence that has recently become apparent in the American work place is the rapid increase in work place violence which too often has caused tbe death of many employees.
When Willy Loman was fired, he didn’t run home, pick up a gun and then.run back to his office and kill his employer.
Sarah Bowen Holloway
1949>>2019 Changes in USA
Improvments may include:
Social security disability
Health plans (HMO, PPO, Independent)
After-tax retirement plans
Tuition assistance plans for college
Childcare finance for working parents
Prenatal care for pregnant women in need
Admission of women into the USA military academies
Federal loans for college
Tuition free medical schools
Women fire fighters, women police officiers,
Women cabbies, women bus drivers, women
subway drivers, women pilots
Women.in USA military fighting units
Oil assistance programs
Laws prohibiting sexism, ageism, sex trafficking,…etc
Acts of Loving Kindness in Death of a Salesman?
For a nonspiritual/nonreligious play, one can’t help but notice the many mitzvahs performed throughout this play.
Why is this such a hopeful and loving sign?
I’ve read this, the dynamics coupled with pacing, a beautiful read how I could not help but feel sympathy for Willy Loman.
I thought the screen adaptation with Dustin Hoffman was really good as well.
It is a well received play around the world
Some audiences claim to like the fat, bulky Willy over a small, thin Willy like that presented.by Dustin Huffman.
The large, fat Willy may appear to be a fatherly, unkept, over worked version of your average, working man of 1949.
@Kathy oh that’s interesting, and you explain it so well that I can see how both would be different plays – yeah, interesting
Is the Middle Class Dead?
References on Death of a Salesman:
Death of a Salesman’s Dreams
Two more weeks till the requiem
I’ll keep Miller on ice, while I start my new Tenn William’s project.
@Kathy Tennessee Williams, I’ve been meaning to read more of his plays. Streetcar – brill read!!!
What other plays by Tenn Williams do you like?
@Kathy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof & Glass Menagerie I’ve been meaning to read again, the others I wouldn’t mind reading, trying to remember what they’re called, I might have some of these wrong:
Night of iguana
Summer something, house, maybe time
Then there’s one with a baseball player, I think, could be another sport
Milk Train, or something similar
Are a few that come to mind but I think, pretty sure he’s written more
Suddenly Last Summer
Relevant quotes , from.others, pertaing to the sorry fate of Willy Loman.
” The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”