Boekverslag: Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman has broken the car again. He says that he was admiring the trees. However, his wife, Linda, knows that he is mentally very tired, and that he wants to kill himself. The whole family lies to him, to satisfy him.
Willy has two sons, Happy and Biff. They are not very successful in the society. Happy is the youngest one, and he is just a normal employee. Biff works on a farm, in the west. He likes to work with his muscles, and not with his mind.
Because Biff has such an opinion, he and his father do not fit together. Willy has a dream that his sons are 'going to make it', and that they make a lot of money together.
About twenty years ago, when Biff has to study, Bernard (the son of Charley) tries to help him. He says to Biff that he has to learn, but Biff does not want to learn. He wants to play and Willy thought that his son was right, because once, his sons are going to be rich and famous. That dream is not the only thing of Willy's mind, but there are also illusions. One of them is Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben is Willy's brother, and he became very rich, in just a few years.
Willy is not rich, and he tries to pay off his house. On an evening full of stress, Happy gets a 'big million' idea. He and Biff will go to Bill Oliver, for executing their plan. Willy is at once very positive. Tomorrow, he will go to Howard (his employer), to ask him for some advance.
Next day, Biff goes to Oliver, and after six hours, Oliver passes him. Willy is at the same time not successful either, because Howard has fired him.
That evening, Biff and Willy have a very serious talk. Biff tells him the truth about himself. He cries to Willy, and Willy sees that Biff loves him. He commits suicide, by driving himself against a tree or a wall. That terrible day, he just paid off the house. His sons have al lot of money now, so they 'can make it'.
Willy Loman is about 50 years old. He has two sons, Happy and Biff. He loves his sons very much. He wants to give them all he has to give. There is only one dream in his mind; Willy wants his sons to be the best in society just like himself. He thinks that he is a very important salesman. In addition, the company he works for, is nothing without him.
The American dream of "earning a lot of money and being admired" is fully in his mind. When he had that serious talk with Biff, Biff wanted to explain that he is not a career man. Nevertheless, Willy commits suicide because he still believes in Biff. He is very proud also, because of his job. When he was fired, Charley offers him a well paid job, but he does not want to work for Charley.
Willy is a bit crazy, because he has illusions and he is very fast irritated. Sometimes he sees things, which do not exist. When Biff says that he is a failure, Willy becomes very angry, and he begins to shout. He does not want to see the truth.
For example: He has illusions of Uncle Ben. Willy uses Uncle Ben as a model for his sons. Uncle Ben is a big and very rich businessman. Uncle Ben is only a fiction of Willy.
Willy thinks that his sons are going to make it, but in reality, Biff and Happy are just two normal men. Biff and Willy have had a fight, and after that, Willy sees that Biff loves him. Because of that, he thinks that next day, there is going to be a turning point in Biff his life. Biff needs money, and that is why he commits suicide.
Sometimes he is very positive because he thinks his sons are very great. He thinks his children are very talented and that together, they are the best.
Linda is Willy's wife. She is very sensitive, and she loves Willy very much. That is why she lies to him about her sons. She only wants to make him happy. Linda does not want to know about Willy's mental crisis.
Biff is the oldest son. He is 'to the point' and does not want to lie. He wants to tell the truth to his father. Biff is an attractive, strong build man, and he likes to work in the open air.
Happy is two years younger that his brother. Mentally, he is just like his mother. He wants to make his father happy, an he also lies to him. Physically, he is just like his brother. He loves his brother very much, but he does not want to go to the west with him.
The theme is the impossible American dream in Willy's mind. It is also impossible to get that dream out of Willy. It must be great to be rich, but if you have money, you are not automatically happy. Willy is only happy if there is something nice in the future.
Willy Loman is not successful either. Maybe that is the reason he wants his sons to be successful.
It was a very sad book. Sometimes I did not understand why the rich people did not want to help Willy. For example: if Howard gave Willy a little advance, Willy was happy. Life is not only money and I think Willy had to discover that.
Miller verwierf faam met het toneelstuk Dood van een Handelsreiziger. Hij won daarmee in 1949 de Pulitzer-prijs. Het stuk verhaalt van Willy Loman, een vertegenwoordiger in schrijfwaren, die zijn werk verliest. Het stuk is grotendeels realistisch maar Miller maakt gebruik van een aantal theatrale effecten, zoals flashbacks en locaties die in elkaar overlopen. Death of a Salesman torst als één van de meest bekende, vaakst opgevoerde en frequentst bekroonde dramawerken een zware reputatie op de schouders. Volgens sommigen bevat dit stuk de scherpste kritiek op de Amerikaanse manier van denken, anderen zien Miller dan weer als een grote theatervernieuwer omwille van zijn gebruik van losse associaties en een zogeheten stream of consciousness (=losse gedachten).
- Death of a Salesman
- Arthur Miller
- Meer boeken van:Arthur Miller