What are some of the different types of irony and where are they in  Death of a Salesman.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Death of a Salesman, an example of situational irony is that Willy portrays himself as being at the top of his game in sales after 36 years of experience, having a multitude of connections, and an overwhelming respect from his colleagues.  The truth is that Willy is a dinosaur.  The next generation has taken over his company and the new boss sees little value in Willie's work, done with an old-fashioned work ethic and Willy's expectation of a small-company family unit.  In fact, when Willy goes to ask if he can work out of the showroom, he is let go. At Willie's funeral, all of the mourners the family expected to come never materialize because things were not as Willy had hoped they were or would be on the job.

An example of dramatic irony is found with Biff.  Biff is Willy's older son, the one Willy believes will make something special of his life, even though he never graduated high school, and therefore, lost his scholarship to college. Willy continues to insist that Biff will come around, even after the audience witnesses Biff's realization of the years he has wasted, and the worthless figure he has become in terms of finding his way in the world.  Even as he tries to tell Willy, Willy won't accept this.  Until the very end, Willy holds out hope for Biff, but the audience knows that these dreams for Biff's amazing climb to success will never take place.


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Death of a Salesman

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