“Death of a Salesman” — 2nd time of reading


The second time reading through “Death of a Salesman”, it’s actually more helpful than I think it would be. Also, don’t know was it because of the book edition of the play, but somehow I think it gets shorter. As I read through, I figure that I still remember quite a lot thing. When I got the book from Mr.MacKnight, I remember looking at the character list, the first thing pop up was “who is Letta?” I had no impression of seeing that name before from my first time of reading, but somehow I remembered Jenny and Miss Forsythe.


From the start of the very detailed stage direction, I questioned about the choice of music. Why flute? 1940s America reminds me of WW2, strong propaganda music, rather than a peaceful melody played by flute. Then, later on in the book, I realized Willy’s connection with flute: his father used to sell self-made flute for extra money. Intriguingly, I found out that I have no memory about Willy’s father at all. In the play, Ben said he left when Willy was still a baby, only ‘3 years and eleven months’. There are actually roughly only 3 pages about his father, but he is the key of Ben’s success. Ben succeeds by luck, one factor of the American Dream. It’s all caused by a mistake on his way to find their father. We have no idea how does Willy think of his dad, but clearly Willy regrets not going with Ben on the adventure, the way to high social status, prestige and money. Which is Willy’s definition of success, this made me wonder, does Ben also consider himself as being successful? He had seven sons, plenty of money, but was he happy? Like what Willy imagine him to be?


Even from the second time of reading, I still didn’t understand the introduction of the character Linda, “she more than loves him, she admires him,” I chew over this sentence more than 10 times, still couldn’t figure out it’s meaning. She always has “infinite patience” when she’s with Willy but never with Biff nor Happy. In the middle of the play, Linda had a fight with Biff about Willy. She seems to know everything, Willy’s toughness of selling, his source of money, and his action of suicide… This made us wonder whether she knew about the Woman or not, if she is aware of her, then I would say her love towards Willy was not pure love, was admire as pointed out.


After the second time of reading this play, I felt more sympathy towards Willy, and little bit towards Linda. However my sympathy towards Willy is weak, he chose to live his life this way, he could be a carpenter and forget about the impossible dream of being a successful salesman. He ended up inside a maze that’s built by himself, the hint of exiting was to face the reality.


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