Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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How does the theme of appearance vs. reality appear in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller?

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Several aspects of appearance versus reality exist within the text of Arthur Millier's Death of a Salesman. First, the very concept and job of a salesman is to deal with appearances rather than reality and to convince people to buy things that they do not actually need. (If the things being sold were really necessary, one would not need to market them aggressively). Next, Willy Loman's claims to being successful are in fact mere appearance, although of course, appearance is part of what can make someone a successful salesman. Next, the Lomans tend to judge people by external appearance as opposed to internal value, as noted above.

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Willy Loman, the protagonist in Arthur's Miller's Death of a Salesman, believes that the way to success is popularity, attractiveness, and luck.  These are the keys to success. One of the themes of the drama subscribes to the idea that appearance may not be reality.

(1) The entire Loman family places heavy value on appearances and good looks. Many of Willy's...

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