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Analyze the quote below from Death of A Salesman.What is the significance/importance of...

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hopemante | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2011 at 3:28 AM via web

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Analyze the quote below from Death of A Salesman.

What is the significance/importance of this quote? What does it mean?

"I don't say he's a great man. Willie Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person."

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 1, 2011 at 6:04 AM (Answer #1)

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This quote attempts to elicit some tribute to the man, and not the salesman, Willy Loman.

The play Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, bases is theme in the eternal quest for the so-called "American Dream", and the plethora of interpretations this dreams seems to have. However, Miller is clear in illustrating Willy's understanding of the "American Dream" as a combination of being financially successful, well-liked, and well-known.

Unfortunately, Willy cannot enjoy any of those attributes. In a wider-perspective we could also argue that there are many other individuals that cannot enjoy those attributes either. That being said, we can safely argue that the purpose of the quote is to allow for those who never achieved their dreams to at least be honored for the fact that they lived their lives the best way they could.

Just because many individuals do not "make it" in life does not mean that they do not deserve to be paid the attention and the respect that they deserve. The American Dream may still be hard to get, but those who do not achieve it- like Willy- should not just be forgotten and ignored.

Consider the first part of the quote that reads:

Willie Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived.

This clearly lists the three things that Willy aimed for: Money, recognition, and a reputation. Later on the quote we see the words:

...he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog.

Here we see how the narrator makes us remember that Willy (and those who are like willy) are still and only human, and people should overlook their social weaknesses and appreciate the fact that they do not have it easy. Hence, by ignoring the struggling man, and the failing man, we are ignoring a huge part of a population that sometimes tries to hard to achieve things.

Therefore, the last part of the quote reaffirms this idea with the words:

Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person."

We simply cannot offer all our respect and admiration to the successful and the glorious. Within each of us, there is a latent wish or dream we would like to pursue but will not get. That does not make us lesser than those who could achieve their dreams. It simply makes us part of a big majority that, at least, still dreams.

 

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sanskritibookbound | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:37 AM (Answer #2)

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this quote rears the idea of the plight of the woman. linda who was a devoted wife to willy....

it portrays the desperation and the pointof exhaustion linda has reached having seen her husband fail....

it not only portrays willy as an individual but also linda.... and her feelings about willy and their life at large....

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