Death of a Salesman: SymbolsMany symbols are incorporated into the play “Death of a Sales man” and they inturn relate to both character and theme. The hose, tape recorder and the seedsare some of these symbols. The hose in Miller’s drama directly relates to the theme of d eath. The hose isa line attached to the gas main in Willy’s house which allows him to snif f thegas. This action can be seen as Willy’s suicide wish, and escape from therealities of life.
As seen in the loss of his job and his failure to succeed. The hose also represents grief and deception. For when Linda, Willy’s wife,finds the hose, she is distraught over its in tended purpose. The deceptivenature of the hose is apparent when Willy is confronted about it by Biff his sonand Willy denies its existence. A similar denial is also evident when Willy isconfronted with the tape recorder in Howard’s office.
The tape recorder signifies the change in Willy’s life throug h the advancementof technology. It also represents the end of Willy’s career. This is broughtabout when Howard, Willy’s boss and godson, shows the tape recorder to Willy andappe ars to be more interested in the sound and technology of the machineinstead of Willy, who i s fighting for his job. Howard no longer need s Willy’sservices and without concern fires him.
This , to Willy, was like, “eating theorange and throwing away the peel”. However, Willy is partly to blame, as hedoes not accept change and wants to remain in the pas t. This is foreshadowed inthe scene where Willy is left alone with the tape recorder and is unable to shutit off. Willy believes in using his old techniques and style to succeed. Nevertheless, in his job, it is not what you know, but it is who you know. Willyis not up to date with the business nor technology.
Yet, Willy still has hope,and wishes to leave some fo rm of support behind for his family as illustratedin his planting of the seeds. Willy feels that he must leave something behind something for Biff. In Willy’simaginary world he wants Biff to be magnificent and he symbolically plants seedsin his garden. In spite of such an action he is doomed to fail.
Willy sta rtsplanting the seeds at night, but at night there is no sun shining and this seemsvery od d as seeds require light to grow. What else is strange is the fact thatWilly’s house is boxed in between large apartment buildings and is covered bythe shadows cast by them. It is evident that no light will fall on Willy’sgarden. Willy’s attempt to plant and grow seeds is futile, but he persist in hisattempt to seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Thus the hose, tape record erand the seeds are all symbolic of Willy’s dreams gone sour, and his inability tolive in the present.
His death is inevitable and is mirrored by his life.English