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Paper代写:Subtext in Death of a Salesman

2019-04-15 | 来源:51due教员组 | 类别:Paper代写范文

本篇paper代写- Subtext in Death of a Salesman讨论了《推销员之死》中的潜台词。作为阿瑟·米勒的代表作,《推销员之死》描写了家庭成员之间令人心碎的冲突,以及对美国梦的盲目信仰所付出的沉重代价。在剧中,潜台词得到了广泛的运用。与平实直接的语言不同,潜台词的运用对于塑造人物性格、戏剧化人物内心的挣扎、传达重要的信息、吸引观众都很重要。本篇paper代写51due代写平台整理,供大家参考阅读。

Death of a Salesman,推销员之死,paper代写,代写,essay代写

As the representative work of Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman depicts the heart-breaking conflicts between family members, and the heavy price paid for the blind belief in the American Dream. When the play was first rehearsed, it was titled The Inside of His Head. This title perfectly captures its heavy emphasis on psychological activities. In the play, an extensive use of subtext has been observed. Different from plain and direct language, the use of subtext is important for character construction, dramatizing the characters’ inner struggles, conveying overarching messages, and engaging the audience.

In Death of a Salesman, subtext acts as an important tool for character construction. The key to the drama to intrigue empathetic and emotional responses from the audience is the identity of Willy Loman as an ordinary folk. From the very beginning of the play, such an impression of Willy is formed, with him carrying two heavy suitcases of sample products, like a weight-bearing mule on stage. When Willy says the simple sentence: “I’m tired to the death, I couldn’t make it, I just couldn’t make it, Linda (Miller 5),” the tragic tone of the entire play has been set. This sentence is like a prophecy for the final fate of Willy. “I couldn’t make it” here for Linda means that Willy is not able to be successful in his job anymore. However, there are hidden messages in it, indicating Willy’s tiredness and inability to steer his entire life. The cruelty of life has pushed down so hard at him, that Willy is already speaking with a sense of death and failure. Although the subtext of death is obvious to the audience, the fact that Linda is not aware of it shows that Willy has carried the burden all by himself for a very long time already. This inability to share genuine feelings may be the main reason for his death.

Subtext is also effective in demonstrating the inner struggles of the characters, as a diversified alternative to language. One instance of such an application is when Willy planted seed for several times at the middle of the night in their small garden. The small garden where once filled with lilac, wisteria, peonies, and wisteria (Miller 9), until the sunlight was blocked by the growing skyscrapers around the place. This symbolizes the invasion of modernity and the American dream into ordinary households like Willy’s. This further makes the action of planting more than just an ordinary action anymore. Planting seeds into the garden is like trying to restore the garden to its old times. Although the rest of his life cannot be restored so easily, the garden serves as a psychological comfort for Willy. This also explains why he was working in the garden in the middle of the night. It also explains the “anxious (Miller 90)” tone he used when he wanted to get some seed “right away.” It doesn’t really matter what seeds Willy is planting, what matters for him is that “Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground (Miller 90).” Clearly, this refers to Willy’s sense of frustration and failure over work. He wants to be something substantial, he desires to product something useful and of worth, but he fails to do so professionally. In addition, his two sons, of whom he has very high expectations, are not achieving much in life, either. These are all motivations for Willy to “plant” something. However, the lack of sunlight has determined the outcome of failure already, which again aligns with Willy’s life.

From the audience’s perspective, the subtext in Death of a Salesman also serves as a tool of engagement and a thought provoker. A play is to be performed on stage in a theater, where all senses of the audience need to be engaged in the plot. Apart from language, the actions, facial expressions and environment are all elements to construct a subtext for audience to interpret and comprehend on their own. When Linda offers Willy American instead of Swiss cheese, he responds with: “I want Swiss cheese. Why am I always being contradicted? (Miller 8)” Linda then resolves the potential conflict with “a covering laugh” and “infinite patience.” These responses instantly provide the audience with a hint of the marriage status of the two and they mode of interaction. Subtext can also be constructed with symbols. As discussed above, planting seed in the garden symbolizes Willy’s sense of failure in life. The stockings, which appears multiple times in the play, is another symbol. On the one hand, it reinforces the positive image of Linda as a good wife. On the other hand, it also represents Willy’s sense of guilt for cheating on Linda. The fact that his son was completely beaten down due to his affairs further increases such guilt. The broken stockings of Linda are like Willy’s conscience and guilt for the family. This also becomes the subtext when Willy becomes so angry at Linda when he sees her mending her stockings (Miller 26).

The tragic of Willy does not lie in the moment of his death alone, but throughout his entire burdened life. The cruelty of reality and the suppression against human nature is a message conveyed by subtext from the play. Such messages are difficult to be communicated directly through the actions and dialogues of characters, since they go beyond single characters. This makes subtext one of the most effective ways to deliver such messages. For example, when talking with Howard, Willy says, “I put thirty-four years into this firm, Howard, and now I can’t pay my insurance! You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away — a man is not a piece of fruit! (Miller 58).” This line is an epitome of the commodity economy in the US society, which humans and human labor are commodified as well. As willy grows old and no longer able to product value for the company, he is tossed away like “orange peel.” This line extends beyond Willy to countless employers in the society, who prioritize profit and do not care about their employees’ wellbeing after being laid off. The idea of commodifying humans is so deeply installed in Willy that he considers money to be the most important thing in life. Although this distorted mentality to perceive the American dream is not directly expressed through lines, the mental state of Willy is adequate proof for it. When money and material success become everything in Willy’s life, he cannot live with his failures anymore. Beyond the sadness and tragedy of a single person as Willy, the subtext of the tragic elevate and expands the message, pointing at the countless Americans who suffer in the same way.

As demonstrated by the analysis above, subtext carries unique functions that are not easily replaced by other forms of expressions. Through dialogues, actions, emotions, facial expressions, and symbols, subtext has effectively conveyed messages of the play and helped outline the characters in a subtle way. In some cases, subtext is used to reveal the inner aspect of Willy to the audience, which is hidden to the other characters in the play. In the construction of subtext through symbols, a more profound level of meaning is created. Audience engagement is also an important function of subtext. The diverse functions of subtext in Death of a Salesman has contributed to both the play’s depth of thinking, and its dramatic effects.


Arthur, Miller. Death of a Salesman.



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