Psycoanalytical Literacy Theory in Death of a Salesman Essay Example
Psycoanalytical Literacy Theory in Death of a Salesman Essay Example

Psycoanalytical Literacy Theory in Death of a Salesman Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (718 words)
  • Published: April 14, 2022
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The play Death of a Salesman explores the themes of character loss, inability to accept change in oneself and society, and the struggles faced by the protagonist, Willy Loman. Through a montage of memories, dreams, encounters, and arguments, the play unfolds over the course of Willy's last 24 hours. Denial, contradiction, and order versus disorder are the three central themes examined within.

The Loman family members are either ignorant or perpetuating a cycle of denial. Willy Loman refuses to accept that he is not a successful businessman and instead pursues his own version of the American dream, even if it means denying reality. He retreats into the past to relive moments where he was considered successful. In my essay, I will discuss the Psychoanalytic literary theory, which suggests that a person's behavior is influenced by primal drives and unconscious exp


eriences. The term "psychoanalytical" encompasses two conflicting theories.

The first focus is on the content itself, without considering external influences. The second focuses on the creator of the content. There is an emphasis on the importance of dreams because psychoanalytic theory states that a person's subconscious desires are revealed in dreams. Anything a person cannot express or do due to societal norms will be expressed and fulfilled in dreams, where there are no social rules. Oftentimes, individuals are not even aware of their secret desires until their subconscious is unchecked during sleep. Death of a Salesman belongs to Willy.

The story revolves around the events that take place in his life within a span of 24 hours. He is unaware of his current state and driven by his longing to achieve the same success as his respected brother. Consequently,

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he imposes expectations on his sons to fulfill this ambition. Most characters in the play, both in present times and through Willy's recollections, are influenced by his presence.

Willy's character, emotions, inspirations, and destiny are shaped by his interactions with others. However, a problem arises because Willy reacts to present characters while also responding to different characters and situations from the past. As a result, Willy's typical behavior is contradictory, somewhat angry, and often excessive. The American identity is rooted in the concept of the American Dream, which Willy has always advocated for his son. This dream involves self-improvement primarily through financial success or sacrificing personal pleasure in pursuit of a greater purpose.

The problems that Willy faces can be attributed to the concept of the American Dream. Several scenes in the play illustrate these problems. One significant scene is when Biff meets Willy at the hotel. Another scene is the conversation between Happy and Biff after Biff returns home. The final scene to consider is Willy Loman's death, which marks a turning point in Biff and Willy's relationship and brings into question why Willy chose to crash his car and commit suicide.

Despite the fact that the Oedipal Complex does not affect only Happy, but also Biff. Towards the conclusion of the play, Willy decides to take the family car for a drive resulting in a car crash and ultimately committing suicide. Willy views Biff's life as a letdown and believes he has disappointed his family, particularly Linda. He was unable to achieve the "American Dream" he always desired, leaving the family financially insecure and unstable. Realizing his life is nothing but a failure, Willy chooses to

end his own life, motivated by love even though it may seem insane.

The presence of the Oedipal Complex can also be seen in Death of a Salesman, as Happy is not emotionally connected to his father, as he pays more attention to Biff instead. Biff's loss of respect for his father is also the reason why Willy decides to commit suicide. This relates to the Oedipal Complex, as it can be interpreted as a son figuratively killing his father and taking control of his mother. Now that both of her children have taken the life insurance money from Willy's death, Linda finds herself in a difficult situation.

These viewpoints in Death of a Salesman illustrate why this play can be considered Psychoanalytic. It combines the thinking of the brain and the emotions of the psyche, influenced by family issues. Additionally, there are also observations of the Oedipal Complex incorporated into the play.

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