A Marxist Analysis Of Arthur Miller’S The Death Of A Salesman

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False Consciousness, Commodification and Alienation A Marxist Analysis of Arthur Miller’s the Death of a Salesman Through a Marxist perspective, Arthur Miller suggests in his book the Death of a Salesman that one can only be freed from alienation and commodification if one is able to demystify the state of false consciousness that one is put in to by the dominant culture. It is by comparing the life experiences of the book’s two main characters Biff and Willy that the reader can make this conclusion. Both Biff and Willy starts the play in a state of false consciousness, leading them both to being alienated and commodified. Unlike Biff however, Willy does not come out of this state and will bring his beliefs to his grave. Only after realizing just how fake his whole life was, was Biff finally able to be freed from this prison created by a capitalist society. Willy Loman’s state of false consciousness is that he believes in a version of the American dream that is no longer applicable to modern day America. Like many out there, Willy Loman covets the possibilities of success that define the American Dream, with the firm belief that such success could be only achieved through charm, style and popularity. In fact, he says that “[…] the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, in the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want,” (25). Time, however, proves Willy wrong when Bernard manages to land himself a successful career because of his good grades while charm and popularity gets Willy’s sons nowhere. Indirectly because of his fixation on popularity, he is alienated from Biff. Although Biff had been extremely close to him when he was young, his relationship with his son disintegrated after the latter found out about his affair. His obsession with
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