Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Exposing Truth in Arthur Millers, Death of a Salesman and Henry David Thoreaus, Walden Pond :: Death Salesman essays
Exposing Truth in Arthur Miller's, Death of a Salesman and Henry David Thoreau's, Walden Pond Poor Willy, the reader bemoans, he just couldn't get his act together. Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman's central character, is one of Arthur Miller's most intriguing personalities. He spends the whole play vacillating between two dreams: his idealistic wish for success and worldly gain, and his unconscious desire for a simple life in the country. This internal conflict results in the destruction of this most unheroic of heros. Miller demonstrates the advantages of simplicity over complex and competitive success. In an earlier era, Henry David Thoreau treated this same theme in his opus work Walden, which recounts his life in the woods. The moral of both works is the same -- how we can transcend mere existence and really live -- but they teach this lesson in very different ways: Walden is an experiment in successful living, whereas Death of a Salesman is an example of living a failure. Examining how Thoreau independently viewed life's meaning in a manner synergetic to Miller's illumi nates the truths that Miller presents in his play. In this process Willy's deterioration transforms into the embodiment of Thoreau's warnings. With beautiful mornings, stunning scenery, and revelry in the simple and exotic banalities of life, Walden is an experience in living. Thoreau's purpose for writing Walden is clearly stated: "As I have said, I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up" (Thoreau 168). Its purpose is to help us to realize what we are missing in our everyday existence, and rise to our potential. Walden provides an ideal for true and simple living that can be juxtaposed against Willy's artificial and common city life. This contrasting pedagogy is immediately apparent in the settings of the books. Both stories occur in New England, yet in drastically different localities. Walden Pond is a sheltered, wooded chunk of paradise where a philosopher can do his business. Willy's Brooklyn, with its growing population, seems to tighten a choke hold on him as his dreams evaporate. When Willy started raisi ng his family, their spacious home and garden was on the edge of a city full of opportunities, yet as his crisis approached he found that his city was crushing him. The gradual change is a reflection of Willy's choices and their effects.