The Stereotype of a Salesman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
A research paper on the stereotype of a salesman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman can be custom written to focus on any aspect of the play. Paper Masters chooses the stereotype of a salesman due to the fact that the role of being a salesman plays a strong role in the theme of the play.
Although it may appear as a generalization or an explicit example of stereotyping, the use of the profit-making trade of salesman to highlight the issue of ascribing to false values in Miller’s play Death of a Salesman is not surprising. In Death of a Salesman, the characteristics of the fictional Willy Loman are not unlike those of many real individuals in the sales trade where it is essential to present a confident front, even if it is derived of pretense or the application of values that are not exactly true. Murphy echoes Bloom’s assertion by suggesting that Miller’s play is “the development of subjective realism. Similarly, Ewen suggests that the use of a salesman and the plight of Biff in the play are essential to demonstrating the common or real problem of not getting any “sort of hold on life”.
The charge of realism is not difficult to understand. For example, it is fair to suggest that many people know or a familiar with people who have similar characteristics as Willy Loman, especially in regard to abiding by false values that have been misrepresented as true or honest values by society. At the same time, it is just as fair to assume that personal introspection would reveal that many individuals have the same misconceptions themselves. According to Bloom, this is especially true in a commercialized society.
What may be surprising is that Miller appears to emphasize the qualities of sympathy and ingratiation as inherent attributes of salesmen like Loman. The concept works to draw some degree of empathy for Willy however it barely lasts until the salesman’s ultimate demise at his own discretion.
Willy Loman is a monumental liar. There are very few situations in which he is not throwing up one outright lie after another. Willy’s lying can be viewed in two ways.
- On the one hand it is simply a psychological symptom of his deficient adaptation to an overwhelming world: he is a chronic inadequate trying to paper over the fact of his failure to the people around him.
- Willy’s habit of lying is also a symbol; as such it stands for a type of dishonesty that is more fundamental than is lying as a form of social activity.
- Willy’s refusal to face the realm of the real—something which makes him helpless to cope with the real—is central to his dilemma and his lying is not merely a symptom of this, but also symbolizes it.