Death of a Salesman by Arthur miller This is a play about a family tragedy, and it describes the conflict between their dreams and realities of their lives. The family is comprised of Willy Loman, his wife, kids and Ben his younger brother. Willy is delusional and tries so hard to hide his failures and averageness behind his misbeliefs. Loman is relatively characterized as someone, in a class, who thinks that he or she has ballooned egos, which not everyone else likes. The whole play gives a vivid picture of an American dream gone sour. Loman’s statement that his brother walked into the jungle and came out with diamonds metaphorically relates to most themes of the play.
The quote, “the jungle”, illustrates how Ben ventured in Africa and came back rich. This native locale, just like Alaska where Ben and Willy’s dad also ventured and made exemplary success in his business, proves the title of a failed salesman. In a way, it also depicts Willy’s little success, which is majored in his decision to work, in America, to achieve his dream (Miller et al. 17). In Africa, Ben made a significant fortune when he discovered diamond mines. This aspect of Ben’s fortune also symbolizes Willy’s failure as a salesman, which also depicts the meaning of the play’s title. Willy also, as a family man, does not give right incentives to his family especially to his son Biff. Willy is much unwearied from his misconceived American dream, and his brother’s attempt to convince him, to follow him to Alaska, is in vain. Ben even at the end of the play tries to influence his brother to enter into the jungle, and find this elusive diamond (Miller et al. 75). In most scenes, Willy is characterized as someone who has internal conflict, which leads him to undertake uncalled for actions. His stubbornness is what Ben focuses on to condemn him. There is a concurrent reference to nature throughout the whole play. The jungle image has extensively worked as a metaphor. It describes the idea of a world that has not yet been tamed. To some extent, it also reveals how the jungle itself is a place where someone can learn to tame themselves by getting involved.
Another crucial idea that “the jungle” metaphor justifies is how Ben has managed to create so much wealth at the ages of between seventeen and twenty-one years. However, Willy was struggling to achieve his misperceived American dream, during this period. The jungle and diamond analogies are symbolic to the themes of this play. The jungle represents the abstract idea of venturing on an unfriendly environment without prior knowledge of what would transpire (Graziosi &. Greenwood 54). Diamonds, on the other hand, illustrate the riches or the fruits of engaging into the unfriendly jungle. This aptly captures the aspect of Ben going into the jungle at seventeen and coming out at twenty-one with diamonds.
Finally, this play has extensively employed the use of metaphors like the poem by Marge Percy, Secretary Chant. In Secretary Chant, Percy compares the narrator to a machine and an object with none human characteristics, which more or less can be related to how Miller metaphorically describes the jungle and diamonds, in Death of a Salesman.
Graziosi, B and E Greenwood. Homer in the Twentieth Century:Between World Literature and the Western Canon. London: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print
Miller, Arthur, and Gerald C. Weales. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. Print.
Miller, Arthur, Lee J. Cobb, Mildred Dunnock, Dustin Hoffman, Ulu Grosbard, and Alex North. Death of a Salesman. New York: Harper Audio, 1991. Print