And logically the screen and stage productions both differ greatly in regards to the mood they set. Moreover the movie production can do many things that just cannot be done on stage, with reference to the setting of course. To generalize, the play gives us a good hard look at the great American Dream failing miserably. However the combination of both the stage and screen productions accurately depict the shortcomings of the capitalist society.
Death of a Salesman specifically focuses on four characters, the first being the main character Willy Loman, his wife Linda, and their two sons Hap and Biff Loman. As mentioned, the focal point of this play is Willy Loman, a salesman in his early sixties. Throughout the story we are told the hard life, emotions and triumphs of Willy the salesman. Early in the play we learn that he has recently been demoted to working for commission, which later in the play,(on par with his luck) translates into Willy getting fired. As the plot unfolds we discover that Willy had a rich brother who recently died named Ben, whom Willy looked upon with great admiration for becoming extremely wealthy and the ripe old age of 21.
However Willy also becomes very depressed when Ben leaves, the fact being that he re-realizes the meagerness of his own life, and that he is still making payments on all of his possessions. Willy then comprehends that bye the time his worldly possessions are paid forthey shall no longer be of any use. For example, the Loman house has become virtually unnecessary now that the two sons have moved out. It isn’t until after Willy’s death that the final mortgage payment is made. for a house with no one inside it. The one example of this statement is given by Linda during the final paragraph of the play,”I made the last payment on the house today.
Today, dear. And there will be nobody home. We’re freeand clear. we’re free. we’re freewe’re free” As the plot thickens, Willy the salesman plummets deeper and deeper into depression until his most likely route of action, which of course is suicide.
However the reasoning behind this course of action, we find, is his genuine love for his family, along with Willy’s deep longing to supply his family with as much money as he can possibly get his hands on. As we learn more about Willy’s trials and tribulations, the age old expression “like father like son” appears out of nowhere like a beacon. Like his father, Willy’s son Biff also has some problems of his own, the main one being that Biff cannot seem to find his niche in life. Furthermore, we are told that Biff at one point did in fact have his future all planned out. It turns out that Biff was a shoe-in for a position on the University Of Virginia State football team. However, that chance was all but lost when Biff did not qualify to pass his final mathematics course.
Now as you can imagine the fact that Biff had to explain this to his father was quite a large problem in itself. But to add insult to injury, when Biff made the trip to Boston to explain his mathematical dilemma, he is horrified to find that his father has been with another women. And this one incident would leave Biff being an entirely different person altogether. He didn’t even make an attempt to finish his math in summer school. After Boston, Biff couldn’t have cared less what happened to his own life. However, as is in life, out of something horrible comes something worthy.
And Biff finally comes to the