Death Of Salesman Realism
Realism can be defined as an attempt to reproduce the surface appearance of the
life of normal people in everyday situations (Kennedy 1410). Basically realism
is a situation that normal people can relate to based on their own experiences.

Realism is extremely prevalent in the play Death of a Salesman. The characters
in the play all have real world problems. Lack of money is one of the problems,
which is a problem for many people. There are also many conflicts within the
family; the biggest is over what success is; money and power or happiness. Willy

Loman also wants his children to have a better than he has and tries to do
everything he can so they will have a better life, including ending his own. One
realistic situation that many people can relate to is money problems. Money is
one of the main problems that Willy Loman had throughout the play. The Loman
family had many purchases on payments. Linda even states "for the vacuum
cleaner thereís three and a half due on the fifteenth" (Miller 1650). The

Loman family was living from week to week. Every time Willy came home from a
fairly successful day selling, he would think he was finally getting ahead.

Willy would tell Linda how much he had made, but she would then point out how
much they owed on everything. Willy then felt overwhelmed and said "My God, if
business donít pick up I donít know what Iím gonna do!" (1650). Linda
would then reassure Willy and tell him "Well, next week youíll do better"
(1650). Many people in real life have this same problem. Every time they feel
they are getting ahead financially, a problem occurs and they find themselves
right back where they started. Most people also have to deal with problems and
conflicts within their family throughout their life. Family problems were not
exempt from the characters in Death of a Salesman. Biffís idea of success was
completely opposite from Willyís. Willy viewed success as achieving money and
power; Biff however viewed success in life as being happy. Biff realized that

"Iím just what I am, thatís all" (1703). Biff realized he was "a dime
a dozen" (1703), but his father could not accept this reality. This situation
where parents always keep telling their children what else they could be is
common in many families. In actuality the children are where they want to be in
life, but the parents just cannot accept their childrenís contentment. Biff
spent most of his life trying to please Willy, but Biff finally realized that he
never could. He was what he was. The most realistic part of the play may have
been about how much Willy loved his children and how he wanted their life to be
better than his own. Willy raised his children the best he could. The character

Ben even seemed to appear when Willy was trying to make a decision on how to
make the boys lives better. This situation with Ben makes it appear that Willy
has such a hard time making a decision about what is best for the boys, that he
relies on his imagination for an answer. The main reason Willy ends up killing
himself is because he thinks it will help Biff start his own business with the
life insurance money. Willy did everything with the best of intentions and
thought his actions and decisions would benefit his children. Most parents are
the same way and will do anything in their power to help their children. When
reading Death of a Salesman, most people can relate to the problems of the

Lomanís. The similarities of the Lomanís problems to the everyday problems
that average people face make this a play full of realism.


Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,

Poetry, and Drama. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 1999. 1410 Miller,

Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and

Drama. Seventh Edition. X.J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. New York: Addison Wesley

Longman, Inc., 1999.