Comparison Of Death Of A Salesman And A Raisin In The Sun

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In these two plays we see the effects of economic enslavement. Set around the same time in the middle of the nineteenth century. The two plays depict the struggles of the average person and the immorality that happens in society. In these two plays both the leading characters, Willy and Walter, are fighting for social standing and economic prosperity, disputes and problems flourish, their hopes and dreams are shattered, and immorality becomes the option of being helpless and in these struggling families.

Both these families are caught up in bad situations and it becomes even worse; because they are living in a pacifistic society of immorality and see no other options but to lose their own dignity, honor and self respect to find a way of getting back on their feet. It shows us about the constant suffering, dissatisfaction, sacrifice, and false hopes and dreams associated with the American economic system and how life can be so cruel and unfair to some people while others enjoy he comforts of a good life. The main idea of these plays are about how unfair distribution of success is, and that it should be seen by the audience. It is about what life can be like for those who struggle to find their place in this world and how one person can manage to be rich without a care in the world while another poor person goes through the struggles and sacrifice only to be shunned and stepped on by others, so much that their last hope of having success is to turn to immorality.

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However, the play reveals the evils which surface around capitalism and the failures of Willy and Walter, not because of society but due to their own inability to deal with their situation in the proper manner, rather they became depressed and desperate in their attempts to make the difference in their families lives, only to end up facing the reality of their own choices, together with the advent of pride that neglects to lay the foundation for success. Also, their discontentedness is the key factor that undermines the opportunities for success. These plays transform into a deeper study of family dynamics and morals in the midst of struggle and adversity.

In raisin in the son is about an African American family consisting of the five members; the mother, her daughter, her son, his wife and their son. They are a poor working class family and the mother’s hopes and dreams are on the daughter that is doing medical studies. She feels that they will have a better life if her daughter becomes a doctor. Walter is the eldest son. He is a taxi driver and he sees the lives of the wealthy people, so he wishes that he can have this life and that his son will have a better life than he has. They have a small house and they share a bathroom with their neighbors. There is not enough room in the house for everyone to live in and their conditions are poor. Walter dreams of becoming rich and he wonders why he can’t live that life too. He sees an opportunity to open a liquor store and speaks to his mom about it and tells her that wants to support his family. His wife, Ruth was the one person that kept Walter sane and their apartment intact, she kept up the apartment and remains emotionally strong throughout the play. She becomes sad and upset when she finds out that she is pregnant. She feels that they can’t afford this baby and that Walter is irresponsible when he gives Trevor the last money he had, only to ask her for money again. She feels that the better option is to have an abortion. Walter is not happy about what his family is going through and therefore he risks everything they have only to lose it all. The dream he had goes becomes a sad nightmare for the whole family.

The Death of a salesman is about a poor family. They are a white, middle class family who is also struggling to move forward in life. Although, they are not as poor as the family in Raisin in the sun, they have similar dreams to have a better life. Willy wants to be a person that is very well liked in society but he is a failed salesman. He puts all his hopes and dreams on his son, Biff. Biff was a former high school football star but he did not continue to pursue this career. Willy feels that Biff wasted an opportunity to make it in America. Biff is angry with his dad because he caught his dad in a hotel with another woman and he is still traumatised by what he saw. Biff deliberately wants to spite his father when he steals a pen at a big interview. Willy feels that Biff wants to spite him for his infidelity. Willy starts to hallucinate about his affair with women he had years ago. He starts becoming wrapped up in things that happened in the past and he doesn’t see clearly about what he can do for the future. Although he has a loving and supportive wife, he doesn’t realise the value of having a loving family. Linda nurtured a hurting family all those times when Willy’s misguided attempts at success miserably failed. She too held together her family with her emotional strength, without her Willy would have broken long before he did in the play. Linda was the one that kept a cool head in heavy situations, when everyone was freaking out she was the one to bring them down to earth. Although, Linda tries her best, Willy ends up committing suicide in the hope that his family will get money. Both plays have strong supportive women and they have a character that gives the families some news they don’t want to hear.    


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