A Cause Analysis of Biff’s Tragedy in Death of a Salesman毕业论文

 2021-04-07 05:04

摘 要




1. Introduction----------------------------------------------------------------------------------1

2. Demonstration-------------------------------------------------------------------------------3

2.1 Personal causes leading to Biff’s tragedy----------------------------------------------3

2.1.1 Biff’s weakness in personality--------------------------------------------------------3 Biff’s susceptibility to others -------------------------------------------------------3 Biff’s lack of perseverance----------------------------------------------------------4

2.1.2 Biff’s immaturity in personality------------------------------------------------------5 Biff’s subordination to his father Willy Loman----------------------------------5 Biff’s abnormal obsession with his mother Linda Loman----------------------5

2.2 Family influences contributing to Biff’s tragedy-------------------------------------6

2.2.1 The negative role model of Biff’s father Willy Loman----------------------------6 Willy’s wrong values influencing Biff---------------------------------------------6 Willy’s expectations driving Biff to pursue the American Dream-------------7 Willy’s betrayal of his marriage----------------------------------------------------7

2.2.2 The misleading role model of Biff’s uncle Ben Loman---------------------------8 Ben’s success in pursuing the American Dream----------------------------------8 Ben’s encouragement to Biff--------------------------------------------------------8 Biff’s failed attempt to emulate his uncle Ben------------------------------------9

2.3 Social environment contributing to Biff’s tragedy-----------------------------------9

2.3.1 The age of pursuing the American Dream-------------------------------------------9 The fear of the Great Depression --------------------------------------------------9 The atmosphere of social Darwinism---------------------------------------------10

2.3.2 The distorted social values-----------------------------------------------------------11 The extreme individualism in society--------------------------------------------11 The prevalence of money worship and utilitarianism in society--------------11


Works Cited-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13


A Cause Analysis of Biff’s Tragedy in Death of a Salesman

  1. Introduction

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) is one of the greatest American playwrights in the twentieth century. He is hailed as “the conscience of American drama” as well as “Ibsen of the United States” (Gottfried 4) as well as Ibsen of the United States. Miller was born in a middle-class Jewish family, his identity of a Jewish leading him to be discriminated in the society at that time. Miller’s father was a clothing manufacturer who went bankrupt later because of the Great Depression. And then, the whole family moved to the slums of Brooklyn. So Miller had to deliver breads every morning before school in order to support the family. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1932, he worked at several menial jobs to pay for his college tuition. However, the upheaval of life also opens his writing career. So because of his life experiences, Miller’s works always focuses on people who live at the bottom of the American society and also pays attention to their struggles for survival. Miller began writing plays when he was at University of Michigan. Later, he joined the Federal Theater Project in New York City after his graduation in 1938. He showed us a real situation of the Great Depression through an indifferent and neutral attitude and a subtle analytical way. In 1947, Miller’s play All My Sons, which earned him his first Tony Award for Best Author, was a success on Broadway and his reputation as a playwright was established. In 1949, Death of a Salesman was published, which made him one of the main spokesmen of American drama. In 1983, Miller traveled to China to produce and direct Death of a Salesman at the People’s Art Theatre in Beijing. The play was a success in China. Although there were many ups and downs in his life, Miller still devoted himself to writing plays. At the age of 89, Miller died of bladder cancer and congestive heart failure.

Death of a Salesman is one of Miller’s representative dramas. It reveals the tragedy of the American society by depicting the protagonist Willy Loman, the man who is crazy about pursuing the American Dream in order to be successful. But unfortunately, his dream is disillusioned.

The play takes place in New York City and makes the protagonist Willy’s pursuit of his American Dream and the disillusionment of his dream as the storyline. Willy constantly pursues his American Dream in his life. At first, he was a very successful salesman so that he could own his house and car. And Willy has a wife Linda, who loves and admires him very much. Meanwhile, Willy has two sons named Biff and Happy. To Willy, he stubbornly thinks that only being popular with others can be successful. But he gradually becomes a sorehead salesman. Or in other words, he becomes a nobody. At the same time, he doesn’t want to let his wife down. So he chooses a wrong way for pleasing her. That way is to pretend that everything is fine. He pretends that he is still that popular salesman and he can sell lots of goods in one day. Moreover, he rests his hope of the American Dream on his two sons, especially on his elder son, Biff Loman.

Biff Loman is two years older than Happy Loman. He is a well-built and handsome man. Biff was very popular in high school. But when he returned home from Texas, he seemed to become less self-assured. However, as Biff returns home, Willy forces him to pursue the American Dream instead of pursuing his own dream which is becoming a football player. He should fight against Willy for his own dream, but because of his own weakness of personalities, Biff chooses to obey his father to pursue the American Dream once and again. Undoubtedly, he fails in the end. And worse, he is confused about life and thinks desperately during that time. At the end of the play, Willy suddenly realizes he is wrong and knows his sons love him deeply. So he commits suicide ultimately to get his insurance claim to make his sons’ dreams come true. At this moment, the play is over.

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