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You are watching: Dramatic irony in death of a salesman


Dramatic influence in ‘Death of a Salesman’

and two sample paragraphs

(Dramatic affect directs the audience’s response)

I imagine that this page will be of most use to teachers or very elevation learners! that is the direct an outcome of my teaching notes and also it has actually not been amended … for this reason although it is a bit much better than one aide memoire, my examples and pointers space brief and also not comprehensive.


How Miller build suspense (i.e. The audience wonders what will happen and also how events will transpire)

a delays in discovering events: plot 1 and also 2 have actually a two-day ‘frame’.

b Shifting between present and past

i coincided past and present

ii usage of memories

iii usage of flashbacks

iv blurring in between memory and imagined memory

v imagine conversation through dead man

How tension and also conflict is developed between characters. 

a unsaid items

b dramatic irony

c anger

d surprise

e annoyance etc

f monologue

g dialogue

i concerns & commands

ii sentence length

iii use of interruptions

iv hesitation

Character’s very own words reveal your natures and beliefs e.g.:Linda’s naivete because that buying the washing an equipment that had the greatest advertisement.

a Hesitation and stuttering

b Patent untruths e.g.: what Willy has sold

c repetition (see ‘repetition’ below)

d Willy talking to himself and also talking to someone that is not there.

e Contradiction

 Use that a character to e.g.:

a voice one opinion top top another.

b display admiration

c display disappointment

d repeating who else’s indigenous (there’s constantly a reason for law this – likewise see ‘repetition’ below)

The various various purposes of repetition show up in:

a words

b photos (motifs)

c principles (motifs)

d revisiting moments

e recurring references


a past and also present

b between characters e.g. Biff and also Happy

c between character responses

d juxtapositioning of various elements

e treatment of Biff and Happy,

f Willys’ treatment of Linda and also the woman

g Willy’s optimism and also feelings the hopelessness

Irony e.g.:

a Willy tries to teach his young to succeed in a method that ensures that they will certainly fail.

b Willy’s case to success in business – this i do not care dramatic irony as the audience realises the truth when Linda and his sons perform not.

c Charlie is ‘not well-liked’ however he is both successful and generous

d Willy thinks it necessary to it is in well-liked but he says ‘people nothing seem to take to me’ (22)

e aims to continue to be at house yet plays begins, at a later date, v him return exhausted.


The actions of a character and also other phase directions often disclose inner feeling e.g.:

a activity and gesture e.g. Put an arm round someone

b movement

c feelings

d usage of sounds

i. Music

ii. Flute

iii laughter

e collection (and the meaning of that symbolism) e.g. Use of set e.g.

i moving through wall surface line show failure of Willy’s feeling of reality.

ii position on stage

iii leaves falling

 Scene setting:

a the set (see next above ‘e’) being alone on stage

b flash back

c Memories space actually relived

d gradual revealing of the truth

e raising the stress and anxiety e.g. What resulted in the rift? sudden or gradual increase/release

f frame of a scene e.g. Blurring of reality, blending of past with present. Willy alone in the kitchen before the step in the past.


a irony

b dramatic irony

c satire

d hyperbole

Use and also symbolic definition of props

a e.g. The polished car represents pride, admiration, devotion et

b the hose piping

c seeds

d ball

e stockings

Tragedy – audience is relocated to pity and terror

a success (or noticeable success) that protagonist

b protagonist has actually fatal flaw

c fatal flaw causes fall

d realisation that flaw

e one might likewise consider the failure of facets of The American Dream


TWO SAMPLE PARAGRAPHS to present how evaluation of dramatic features develops the key points:

In the flashback , Willy reveals  the his dream is to have actually his very own business and also never ‘have to leaving home any more’. This dramatic irony creates empathy indigenous the audience, as we very first see Willy in ~ the start of the play getting here home from a trip, the is years later . This brings to life one of the themes of the play together Willy never regulated to achieve his dream of having actually his very own business. Müller explores the irony that the American Dream is not simply completed through gift a specialized and faithful worker, together was commonly thought , at the moment of writing in the 1940s.

Willy claims , however, that his job has actually its rewards in gift well-liked . That is presented to boast hyperbolically to his sons the the cops in brand-new England safeguard his vehicle ‘like their own.’ He however  admits  that ‘people don’t seem to take to me’ once he is talking privately  come Linda and although she dismisses this through a short, ‘Oh, don’t be foolish.’ , we quickly see her action of darning stockings, which is a symbol of straightened circumstances, to be a clear indication the his personal doubts space accurate and also that he is a failure. The audience slowly becomes mindful of the nature that his fatal flaw before Willy walk himself, hence raising the suspense in the unfolding tragedy 



In every passage based questions, you have to aim come cover what you think about to be the key areas, which are appropriate to the question. You deserve to go with the step in order however do not simply start through the first phrase and stop when your time is up! Make web links with other parts the the beat – to build the definition of your solution but keep your emphasis on the extract itself.

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Embed your quotes into the sentences whenever possible – this will keep them quick and aid fluency e.g. Willy exaggerates his popular to the degree that he even cases that the police protect his auto ‘like your own’.Always address the dramatic gadgets as an integral component of your evaluation of a play. These are used to delve into the feeling of the characters, to develop the themes and to straight audience response.

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