9 January 2013

My journal for DEATH OF A SALESMAN and MILLER


            
  •           Miller has same ideas with Aristotle in terms of features of tragedy but Miller added the common man to it. We can understand from the title of his play “Death of a Salesman” that salesman is a common man and anyone who is a salesman is common. In Aristotle's time, tragedy generally related to high born people or for high class. However, now we have no more kingdoms or such important class differences. Maybe because of that, Miller used common man. Everyone has the same brain and even the common man can understand the same thing with what a high class person understands. The only difference is background knowledge. I found these sentences very realistic.


  •           After I learned aboutMiller’s life and some background knowledge of “Death of a Salesman,, I asked myself why “American Dream” have a big role in people’s lives. I couldn’t understand the reason of that people need more and more. I skipped to think economic crisis and World War II. There were 2 classes in the society as riches and poor so people had great target to reach. It is to be rich. When they have much money, they will be happier. That is a consecutive dream.


  •           I read the whole essay of Miller and I thought almost all heroes have tragic flaw. That is, Oedipus’ tragic flaw is hubris. Then Death of Salesman came to my mind. Willy Loman’s tragic flaw is to be unable to accept reality. Whole play is based on and continues with this flaw. This flaw gives a shape to play.


  •         In the essay, tragedy is defined as the consequence of man’s needs to evaluate himself. If man fails, it is because of environment or society. These words appeared in my mind while looking at an image with some sentences after reading the essay. The image includes skeletons with black suits and all of them are the same in appearance. There is a statement on them: “ Get a job. Go to work. Get married. Have children. Follow fashion. Act normal. Walk on the pavement. Watch TV. Obey the law. Save for your old age. Now repeat after me : ‘I am free’” Man is in such a system that tension between the society and man becomes tragedy. Like Biff and Willy, one of them , Willy tries to fit society’s requires such as American Dream. The other one, Biff tries not to accept this commonness and then he find himself in the situation that he wants to go Alaska with his brother to be rich. Whether you accept to adapt or not, there can be tension.


  •           In the play, I didn’t understand why Willy was obsessed with Biff. Biff has stolen some stuff and he cannot lead an ordinary life. All of his troubles are because of Willy. I think he wasn’t a good father for his children. To illustrate, when Biff stole basketball, Willy says “Coach will probably congratulate you on the initiative”. This encourages him and as a child, he thinks it is not a bad action. In the present, Willy and Biff always argue about working and money. I thought Willy understood his fault during his day dreaming so he wants to make his heart free about growing children well.


  •         In the class, it was said that this play is like Willy’s mind. There are flashbacks and turns to present. Therefore, it was very hard for me to follow.


  •         After  reading Death of Salesman, I realized some differences from Oedipus. Firstly, there is no chorus in that play. Secondly, place is more than one place. Thirdly, Willy is jumping past time from the present. These comparisons helped me to think deeply.


  •         I found Linda in the play repulsive. The reason is she is almost aware of what’s happening to his husband. Also we discussed this in the class. She doesn’t do anything. Moreover, she is different from the others in that she has no dreams. She just supports her husband by saying this patiently “You are the handsomest men in the world.”  Furthermore the money he earns is not enough but she says he is doing well. However, I can say this, she is more realistic than Willy because Willy lives in dreaming world. Linda confesses she is aware that there is something wrong with her husband and she says to her children “He won’t be all right …He is dying Biff.”.  In some parts Willy says “I’m alone”. Maybe because of his wife, he came to this situation. Linda doesn’t talk too much or share her ideas with her husband so this and some lies pushes him toward loneliness. 


  •         I wondered what if Willy had a stable job and average salary, would he be dead now ? According to me, he wouldn’t be but he would have same complex life with full of day dreaming. Maybe the stress made him so unrealistic person. American Dream requires working hard. When he works hard, he wouldn’t be satisfied with his work. He would always want much money and also their needs would increase with their developing life conditions.


  •          I learned during the lesson, Solon is asked who the happiest person is. Solon’s answer is quite convincing that your materials may fly away at any moments and proper thing is death but honorable death, like defending your country or someone. I can say that Willy is the happiest person because his stress was gone when he died and he died for providing his family a better life with the life insurance.