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Can you explain dramatic structure of Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller...

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beraterkilet | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM via iOS

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Can you explain dramatic structure of Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller ?(exposition,rising action,climax,falling action and resolution)

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:01 PM (Answer #1)

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The exposition of the play lays the groundwork for the various conflicts that face Willy (and the rest of the Loman family). In the early portion of the play, Biff's return is discussed as well as Willy's difficulties continuing to work on the road. The conflict between Willy and Biff is central to the play and Willy's professional failure is central to his character and to his internal conflict (which anchors the play). Included in the exposition portion, Willy speaks with a hallucination of his brother Ben and has a discussion with Charley.

The rising action begins when these conflicts are directly explored and engaged. Biff and Willy argue. Their animosity toward one another and their attempts to normalize their relationship are each clearly and painfully displayed. Linda's attempts to support Willy and to keep him from going over an emotional precipice are also examined in the rising action of the play.

Willy's termination at work, Biff's agreement to talk to his former boss, and Willy's discussions with Bernard and Charley are also part of the rising action. The flashback to Willy's affair is also an important part of the rising action, immediately preceding the play's climax.

The dinner scene begins the climax of the play. The conflicts begin to be resolved here. Biff comes to an important realization. His own internal conflicts become resolved when he admits that was never a salesman in the sporting goods store. He tries to convey his new humility to Willy, but instead brings on a violent (and psychotic) episode from his father. Willy has a mental break from which he does not recover. The climax continues through the next scenes, wherein Biff once again attempts to confront Willy after being chastised by Linda. 

The falling action includes Willy's final discussion with his brother Ben and the play's resolution is presented in the funeral/requiem scene. 

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