How are the characters in Death of a Salesman influenced by their environment?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One of the fundamental points of all sociology is that people are influenced by their environment. Therefore, what is true of life is also true of literature, especially so in the play Death of a Salesman. 

Arthur Miller was born in 1917 and grew up during a time when the idea of the American Dream was alive and well. He published this play in 1947 and his characters have imbibed the American Dream. From this perspective, we can say that the main character, Willy, has been influenced by his surroundings. For example, Willy believes without a shadow of a doubt that if a person is well liked and attractive, he will succeed in business. In fact, he believes this so much that as the play progresses, he cannot distinguish reality from fiction. 

His children Biff and Happy are also products of their environments as well. They have these dreams of going West. The idea of the American frontier for enterprising people is one that Biff and Happy think about. This sentiment, too, is something that they gained from their surroundings. 

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piewifferofficial | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

One of the fundamental points of all sociology is that people are influenced by their environment. Therefore, what is true of life is also true of literature, especially so in the play, Death of a salesman. 

Arthur Miller was born in 1917 and grew up during a time when the idea of the American Dream was alive and well. He published this play in 1947 and his characters have imbibed the American Dream. From this perspective, we can say that the main character, Willy has been influenced by his surroundings. For example, Willy believes without a shadow of doubt that if a person is well liked and attractive, he will succeed in business. In fact, he believes this so much that as the play progresses, he cannot distinguish reality from fiction. 

His children Biff and Happy are also products of their environments as well. They have these dreams of going West. The idea of the American frontier for enterprising people is one that Biff and Happy think about. This sentiment, too, is something that they gained from their surroundings. 

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