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Why Are There Flashbacks In Death Of A Salesman Essay

Act I/ Scene III

This segment of the act takes place in the kitchen years before. Willy reminds Biff not to make promises to a girl, because girls will always believe what you tell them and Biff is too young to be talking seriously to girls. Willy surprises the boys with a new punching bag, and as Happy exercises he brags about how he is losing weight. Biff shows Willy a football he took from the locker room, but Willy tells him to return it. Biff tells Willy that he missed him when he was away on business. Willy says that someday he'll have his own business like Uncle Charley. Willy says that he'll be bigger than Charley, because Charley is liked, but not well-liked. Willy promises to take his boys on business and show them all of the towns in New England and introduce them to the finest people.

As Happy and Biff toss the football around, Bernard enters. Bernard is worried because Biff has a state exam (Regents) the following week and has yet to study for them. Bernard heard that Mr. Birnbaum will fail Biff in his math class if he does not study, and reminds Biff that just because he has been accepted to UVA the high school does not have to graduate him. Willy tells Bernard not to be a pest, and Bernard leaves. Biff says that Bernard is "liked, but not well liked." Willy says that Bernard may get the best grades in school, but when he gets out in the business world people like Biff and Happy will be five times ahead of him.

Act I/ Scene IV

Willy crosses from one part of the stage to another, where a woman is standing, putting on her scarf. Willy says that he gets so lonely, and gets the feeling that he'll never make a living for her or a business for the boys. The woman claims that she picked Willy for his sense of humor. Willy tells her that he will be back in about two weeks and that he will see her the next time he is in Boston.

Act I/ Scene V

Willy is back in the kitchen with Linda, who reassures him that he is a handsome man. Linda mends her stocking, but Willy tells her that he does not want her to do such menial tasks. Willy returns to the porch, where he tells Bernard to give Biff the answers to the Regents exam. Bernard says that he normally gives Biff the answers, but Regents is a State exam and he could be arrested. Bernard says that Biff is driving the car without a license and will flunk math. Willy also hears the woman's voice (from the hotel room), and screams for it to shut up. Willy explodes at Linda, saying that there's nothing the matter with Biff. He asks her if she wants Biff to be a worm like Bernard. Linda, almost in tears, exits into the living room.

Act I/ Scene VII

While Willy talks with Ben, Linda (as a younger woman) enters. Willy asks Ben where his father is, but Ben says that he didn't find his father in Alaska, for he never made it there. Ben claims he had a very faulty view of geography and ended up in Africa instead of Alaska. Willy was only three years, eleven months old when Ben left. Young Biff and Happy enter, and Willy introduces them to Uncle Ben, a "great man." Ben boasts that their father was a very great man, an inventor who could make more money in a week than another man could make in a lifetime. Willy shows Biff to Ben, and says that he's bringing up Biff to be like their father. Biff and Ben start to spar; Ben trips Biff, then tells him never to fight fair with a stranger, because he will never get out of the jungle that way. Ben leaves, wishing Willy good luck on whatever he does.

Charley returns, and reprimands Willy for letting his kids steal lumber from the nearby building that is being refurbished. Willy says that he reprimanded them, but that he has a "couple of fearless characters" as his children. Charley tells him that the jails are full of fearless characters, but Ben says that so is the stock exchange. Bernard enters and says that the watchman is chasing Biff, but Willy says that he is not stealing anything. Willy says that he will stop by on his way back to Africa, but Willy begs him to stay and talk. Willy worries that he's not teaching his sons the right kind of knowledge. Ben repeats that when he walked into the jungle he was seventeen, and when he walked out he was twenty-one and fantastically rich.

What Do the Flashbacks Sequences in ‘Death of a Salesman’ Contribute to Our Understanding of Willy Loman’s Character?

1459 WordsOct 6th, 20086 Pages

The word expressionist has been applied to Arthur Miller as a playwright. This is relatively accurate as ‘Death of a Salesman’ features some of the early expressionist characteristics such as Miller dramatizing the sufferings of his characters. Willy is the character that suffers most and it is dramatized at different points in his life. For example when Willy is first made to work on commission and then is not even allowed to work on commission. Miller also likens his characters to mythic figures in history. An example of this is during the first flashback Willy compares Biff and Happy to the mythical Greek figures Adonis and Hercules. He does this because Willy believes the boys are the pinnacle of 'personal attractiveness', to him they…show more content…

He tries to kill himself by inhaling gas. This is ironic as gas is a necessity that Willy strives to provide his family with. Literal death by inhaling gas parallels the metaphorical death Wily feels to afford such a basic necessity.

Willy’s strange feelings towards the condition of Linda’s stockings is due to Willy giving new stockings to The Women in the Boston hotel room and his wife having to mend old stockings. This is a symbol of Willy’s false values. New stockings are important for both Willy’s pride in being financial successful and that he can provide for his Wife and his family. Providing new stockings for Linda also helps to ease Willy’s guilt and helps him suppress the memory of his betrayal of Linda and Biff. When Willy plants the seeds to prove to himself and his family the worth of his labor. He realizes that he has nothing to leave to children when he is dead and this saddens him because he knows he will not be able to help his children any more than his own abandoning father helped him. His attempt to grown vegetables signifies his shame about providing barely enough food for his family. The seeds also symbolize Willy’s failure as a parent. Although Willy believes the American dream will make Biff successful, Willy’s parenting has changed Biff from a successful American football player to a “lazy bum.”

During the first flashback Willy remembers a time when the boys were young. At the time when the boys were washing the car

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