Death of a Salesman Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Death of a Salesman.
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Appearances vs. Reality

What appears to be true to the characters in Death of a Salesman is often a far cry from reality, and this is communicated numerous times throughout the play. Willy's frequent flashbacks to past events many of which are completely or partly fabricated demonstrate that he is having difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what he wishes were real. Willy's imagined conversations with his dead brother, Ben, also demonstrate his fragile grip on reality. Willy's mind is full of delusions about his own abilities and accomplishments and the abilities and accomplishments of his sons. Biff and Happy share their father's tendencyto concoct grand schemes for themselves and think of themselves as superior to others without any real evidence that the schemes will work or that they are, indeed, superior. At the end of the play, each son responds differently to the reality of his father's...

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This section contains 825 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Death of a Salesman Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Death of a Salesman from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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