Death of a Salesman, second impression

The second time of reading the ‘Death of a Salesman’, I noticed something I had missed last time while I was reading.
First of all is the flute. The book started with a large portion of background introduction. ‘ A melody is heard, played upon a flute’. Later, in the book Willy mentioned that his father used to make flute for the extra money for the family. Finally, at the end, after the Death of the Salesman, ‘Only the music of the flute is left on the darkening stage…’ I was wondering how the flute has its effect on the play. It always appears at the most important time in the play. It also makes me think of Willy as a person, but not only a character in the book.
Willy’s background is barely mentioned in the book, but we can know a little from his conversation with Ben. Willy’s family was poor, and his father was an adventurous man. He left his family, and went to Alaska. There is a decision between the family and the dream of a man. Willy choose to stay, which later on he regretted. Although, I do not agree with Willy’s concept of life, I sympathise Willy, especially when I read the part where he argued with his children, Biff mostly.
In the middle of the play, Willy mentioned what ‘death of a salesman’ is like when he was talking to Howard, his boss. He said, ‘When he died- and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, going into Boston- when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral…’ From Willy’s speech, I feel even more pity for him. His wish is so small. All he wants is to be respected, and loved. However, he feels like that he cannot even get that from his sons. He is lonely. On the other hand, he doesn’t know that he is loved, by his wife, and children, even his friend, Charley. Willy is too troubled by the fuse of illusion and reality, he cannot focus on what he has in life.
While we are reading the book, we would not agree of some of Willy’s decision. However, when it is in a real life situation, we might as well repeat his mistake. I think the’ Death of a Salesman’ is a classic model of a family, also of different kind of people in our lives.

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1 comment to Death of a Salesman, second impression

  • David

    “First of all is the flute”. Hey Dawn, I love it how you talk about the importance of the flute, I didn’t realise this until I read your post (thanks). Also Continuing with the flute I am intrigued about what melody did the flute play in the original performance of this play, and whether it played the same melody every time the flute ‘appeared’ or if it was continuing the same song, but stoping between the acting parts, as if it was trying to tell its story. (sorry hard to explain), But to conclude this ‘reply’ i give your post a ‘like’, as i think you did a awesome job of exploring this story. 🙂

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