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What is the importance of the flashback scenes in the play "Death of a...

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lm101 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 1, 2007 at 6:36 AM via web

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What is the importance of the flashback scenes in the play "Death of a Salesman"?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 1, 2007 at 11:48 AM (Answer #1)

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Arthur Miller begins this play at the point at which all hope is almost gone.  Willy has already attempted to commit suicide.  The main action of the play is intended to show what pushes him over the edge, and how the people around him influence and react to his downfall. 

Willy is a victim not of society but of his own faults.  Miller used the flashback scenes in order to illustrate those flaws and the slow development of them.  The scenes guide readers to identify Willy's motivations and lead readers to the themes of perception and the American Dream.

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