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Acting the character “Happy” in the production: Death of a Sales Man by Arthur Miller Paper

Acting the character “Happy” in the production: Death of a Sales Man by Arthur Miller




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Acting the character “Happy” in the production: Death of a Sales Man by Arthur Miller

Death of a Sales Man, a play written by Arthur Miller in 1949, was first shown in Broadway. It has been performed 742 times, winning many awards including a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award. At 63 years of age, Willie Loman, the main character in the play is portrayed as an enthusiastic salesperson. His career takes a huge turn after 34 years of service to his company because of his mental condition. He is moved from earning a salary, to receiving a commission for his services to the company. This puts him in a devastating financial status because he worries how he is going to sustain his family in the future.

Happy and Biff Loman are the sons of Willie. At 34 years of age, Happy is a thriving businessperson. However, Biff cannot secure a job in business, despite him being the older brother. As a result, he keeps going back home after quitting or being fired from a job. Although Willie believes that Biff can be a successful businessperson, the son carries a lot of hatred towards the father. This is because he discovered a secret that Willie had hidden from the family years ago. Linda is identified as Willie’s wife in the play. According to Bloom, she has spent years trying to solve the conflict between her husband and son (43). However, her efforts are in vain because the tension and anger between them is too much.

Eventually, Willie is fired by his boss because of his mental state. Charley, who has been a loyal a friend to Willie for a long time tries to help him out, by offering him a job, but he refuses. Biff struggles to receive a loan from the bank, in order to make his father proud but fails because of his nature. By this time, the troubles that Willie is going through overwhelm his mind, and as a result, he loses hope. In a final attempt to mend the situation between him and the father, Biff approaches Willie with love, but the father’s mind has fallen apart. Willie commits suicide in order to receive insurance money for Biff to start a business.

Three items that need to be considered in the play include the stage, characters and theme of the play. According to the plot, it is evident that most scenes are centered on Willie’s home and the yard area outside the house. The age of the play suggests that the house should not be modeled in an urban manner. Furthermore, it should be small. A less modernized house helps to display the various cultures of people who lived during this period. In addition, a small, well-maintained house will show the audience the way of life of average families during the period. There should also be a clear distinction between the internal and external environment of the house. This will help to differentiate various scenes in the play. Moreover, it will show a neat transition of ideas within the theme.

The other item that should be considered is the manner in which characters are depicted in the play. The image that is portrayed by an actor makes the play more realistic. The image of actors that is displayed to the audience can be enhanced through clothing. Various outfits that are worn in a play create different appearances to the audience. Therefore, Happy should be dressed in official attire in order to show his success in business. However, Biff should be dressed in a casual way, in order to show his lifestyle during the period. There should also be a slight change in Willie’s clothing after he is fired. The variation in clothing shows a change in his lifestyle because of his financial situation. The character of Biff should be played by someone who is able to show emotion. This is because of the level of emotion required in the last scene, where he reconciles with his father. This shows the intensity of the hatred that he had towards Willie.

The play should have a flow that is based on one theme. According to the synopsis, it is evident that the theme is more centralized on the development of cultures, from the past to the present. The age of Willy affects his mental stability and competence in the company. This causes him to be fired because he was not productive. Another theme that is seen in the play is the diversity of cultures. This is achieved through incorporating actors that are from different cultural backgrounds into one family. This shows the ability of the playwright to be diverse.

The Character of “Happy”

Happy is an important character in the play. This is because he helps in the plot development in the play. Plot development helps to determine climax points in the play. Happy appears in many climax scenes in the play. The scenes that seem to have tension are controlled by Happy for example, when Willy and Biff engage in an altercation at the restaurant. In this scene, Happy does not appear to choose sides. He opts to remain neutral by ignoring Willy and Biff. This was helpful in reducing the tension in the restaurant because Biff walked out after seeing that Happy had left. Moreover, he plays the role of showing the successful side of the business. The play shows that Happy followed in the footsteps of Biff. In addition, he was a reserved man. The nature of his calmness, while struggling to help his family financially shows his considerate nature.

The play also describes him as a womanizer. This is shown by the scene where he leaves with two women out of the restaurant, when Willy and Biff were arguing. In addition, his ambitious character is depicted through his endless efforts to get a promotion. According to Murphy, this is shown by the lengths that he goes through to get what he desires (26). This is displayed in the scene where he is telling Biff that he has to show the executives his capabilities. The playwright outlines the way he is willing to cheat in order to be promoted to an assistant buyer. This shows that he does not possess business ethical values. His obedient character is shown in the play because he always seeks wise advice from his parents before doing anything. However, Willy and Linda do not pay attention to him. Most parts of the play show how he is always ignored by the rest of the family though he still insists on protecting them. This is shown in the scene where he defends Willie when Biff tells him that the father always negative about him. Linda does not appreciate his generosity and condemns him because of his lifestyle but it does not decrease his hopes.

The character of Happy should be played by someone who is dedicated and patient. This kind of trait will help the audience to identify with the character efficiently. Moreover, a dedicated person will be able to act some scenes effectively for example, the part where he defends Willy, despite the fact that the father insults him. He also exercises patience towards Linda, who undermines him other than being grateful for the help that he is offering them. According to Sinclair, Happy’s character also requires a passionate actor (103). Someone who is passionate will be able to show the emotional side of Happy effectively. In addition, the emotions will make the play more interesting to the audience. The character should also be played by someone who is diverse. This will show the true nature of happy in interacting with other people.

In conclusion, Happy is seen as an important character of the play in many ways. His character has assisted the playwright to develop plot in the play and to show a contrast between good and evil deeds. Furthermore, the playwright has succeeded in showing the audience how old age affects people’s minds, through narrating the story of Willie. In addition, the play educates the audience on the importance of sacrifice, and the extent that parents are willing to go, in order to ensure that their children are happy. However, the language that was used to write the script was slightly difficult to understand. This is because of the use of slang in various conversations between Biff and Happy, making it difficult for the audience to interpret the conversations.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. Print.

Murphy, Brenda. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press, 2010. Print.

Sinclair, Iain. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. St Kilda, Vic: Insight Publications, 2011. Print.

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Acting the character “Happy” in the production: Death of a Sales Man by Arthur Miller. (2018, Jun 25). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-14741-acting-the-character-happy-in-the-production-death-of-a-sales-man-by-arthur-miller/

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