Chosen Plays: Death of a Salesman and Oedipus Rex This essay will not be focusing on the entire play but three dramatic devices use by the two playwrights and in terms of the audience response. Arthur Miller is known as one of the best writers of the post war era and Great depression through his experience with his life at the time, complied some challenging, intriguing work. Biography. com writes “Arthur Miller was an American playwright whose biting criticism of societal problems defined his genius. His best known play is Death of a Salesman”. Death of a Salesman the title alone gives everything away.
The play is entirely filled with lots of element and device such as plot, spectacle, irony and tragedy this is the work of a great piece of work. We will pay attention to plot, irony and tragedy in the play. The play triumphs in keeping the reader and by extension the audience’s attention and intrigue. Taking a scene from the play Act one. Willy while playing a game of cards with his friends Charley, Willy mind wander off to his dead brother Ben. We will take the scene after Linda speaks to him about pawning his watch and he exits, in slippers, to take a walk.
Throughout this scene many thing are revealed. I will pay attention to plot that is reveal in this scene. Plot, according to the Poetics of Aristotle, is the first principle and the soul of tragedy. In this scene the focus is on the complexity of the plot. According the Poetics the things that make a tragedy complex are reversal of situation, Recognition and the scene of suffering (Butcher). We can see the plot in this scene when Biff father mental state to worsen since he return and the financial state of the household is not concreted. Willy is dying and lastly believe that he is trying to kill himself.
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Firstly through the little interaction with his father Biff knows that his mind is not well. It is revealed to him by his mother that it gets worse when Biff indicates the he is coming home. It seems a bit manipulative but the intent of her telling him this isn’t shown in this scene. Both sons recognize through the conversation with their mother that William is holding the household together on little or no money. The line said Happy “but I gave you my last…”showed that although he seemed interested in his family he didn’t know the extent of his father’s struggle.
The irony of Willy’s philosophy is that being well liked will get you places and his whole life is based on that “That’s just what I mean…. the man who creates personal interest is the man who gets ahead… Be like and you would never want”, yet he is not well liked. He even admits that he is not well liked to Linda near the middle of the first act. Miller has a very tactful way of writing a great tragedy which included characters that were not larger than life but ones that by all means were true to life.
The scene was filled with suffering which made it a tredgey because Willy Loman is a very proud man and set his mind to understand the period of life that he is living in ,with his traits that pushed him through life. The play itself was realistic and plausible to life that can catch and audience with leaving them with a learning experience and a chance to be in someone else shoes. If we look at Sophocles he is the second best Greek playwright and known best for what he wrote about the play Oedipus Rex, “the mythological figure who proved central to Freud and the history of psychoanalysis”.
His play has audience aware of the outcome of the tragedy with various situation in which dramatic irony play key roles. This is when the audience know before the character the truth. We can say through the use of irony Sophocles manage to avoid retelling an old tale through the audience, they can already predict how the play ends and intrigued by irony present in the play. Sophocles was the first to create that ever exciting paradox of the theatre in which ,knowing perfectly well what will happen, we are yet absorbed in the contemplation of how and why it happens and can watch it time and again as if new and unforeseen (15).
Spectacle is mention Both playwrights Miller and Sophocles plays were tragedy which questioned every aspect of life which would explain why many of the plays were written in a curtain frame both plays holded up there expectations. In terms of audience response it would be a learning experience with life that is pride. It is the same pride and power that blinds us into thinking that things will be okay and you can take on anything which would push one to do a regretting act no matter what the truth would be told sooner or later. The plays were both realistic and plausible so it was easy to grasp and fully understand what was going on. At this time, a Corinthian enters and asks Oedipus to come back to Corinth and rule since his father has died. Afraid of his fate, Oedipus refuses, as he does not want to harm his mother. However, when Oedipus explains to the Corinthian his fate, the Corinthian says that Merope and Polybus were not Oedipus' real parents and that he had given Oedipus to them as a gift. When he asks where he was found, Oedipus is told that a herdsman had given him to the Corinthian in Mount Kithairon where he used to be a shepherd, and that his feet were tied together.
When the survivor from Laios' killing enters, the Corinthian identifies him as the man who had given him Oedipus, and the herdsman admits that Jocasta had given him the baby to get rid of it, and that he had thought the Corinthian would take him far away, never to be seen again. As a result of discovering all of the horrible prophecies have been fulfilled, Jocasta hangs herself. Oedipus discovers her body and takes her brooches off her dress and pierces his eyes until they bleed and he blinds himself.
Then, he asks to be exiled from Thebes, which Creon grants, and he leaves to return to his starting place, Mount Kithairon. His daughters, Antigone and Ismene, are left in the hands of Creon, who proves to be a true friend of Oedipus. Work Cited Arthur Miller. Biography. com 18 Oct 2012. http://www. biography. com/people/arthur-miller-9408335 Sophocles . About . com. Ancient/Classical History http://ancienthistory. about. com/od/sophocles/p/Sophocles. htm Arthur Miller. “Death of a Salesman”. Script. Sophocles “Oedipus Rex”. Script
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