Explore And Compare How The Male Characters In ‘Death Of A Salesman,’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ And ‘A View From The Bridge’ Conform To Their Soc

3317 words - 14 pages

Eugene August wrote how ‘Death of a Salesman’ is a profoundly male tragedy, one in which its protagonist is destroyed by a debilitating concept of masculinity . Willy Loman embodies deluded values, hopes and aspirations that originate from the American dream and infiltrates them into every aspect of his life. His highly inflated dreams of success and prosperity contrast with his emotional instability, which tragically lead to mortality and mutability. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ on the other hand shows how imperilled masculinity is defended. This essay will cover the masculine attitudes towards women, the values held by men and how this is reflected in their primitive behaviour.

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Although it is ironic how respect is only shown when she is nearly entirely broken. This could imply that men kinder towards innocent women, as they allow her to hold onto some of her remaining dignity, although it also suggest that they are insensitive hypocrites. Female roles were determined by negotiations of men. Stanley expects Linda to fulfil her womanly duties as an obedient and submissive wife just like Eddie expects Beatrice to help Catherine with the dishes. This expectation shows how men used women as a device to express and boost their masculinity.

Happy similarly displays this disrespectful where he commits serial promiscuity and continually speaks of women in derogatory terms suggesting that they are merely an item or tool that signifies his power and success. By flattering the girl and claiming that she ought to be on a magazine cover it is not only degrading but also shows how desperate and immature he is. By objectifying the girl as strudel he not only implies that women are expensive and readily available for men to consume but also that they are an appetite that will never be satisfied. The girl is also a symbol of what is happening in capitalist America as instead of holiness she is lavishly dressed like a luxury item, just like how normal products were dressed up and then marketed at higher costs in order to attain maximum profit. The minor female characters in ‘Death of Salesman’ have no name and are referred to as the woman or the girl. This lack of identity is contrasted when the woman, who Willy had an affair with in Boston, enters laughing. The display of emotion shows that she is a normal human and not merely a disposable item for male pleasure.

The general consensus of 1940s America is that the more women the greater the success. Happy’s immature attitude towards women shows this as he philanders in order to boost his ego and power. The same ignorant attitude can be seen in Willy as he tries to compensate for his failure as a salesman and father by sleeping with other women. By sleeping around on business trips whilst Linda stays at home mending stockings it makes Willy appear more in control of their relationship. Willy uses this control to delude Linda as is seen where she questions, Why didn’t anybody come on the day of his funeral. The mending of the stockings suggests that Linda is trying to repair the family tensions, however despite mending them they will never be as they were. There is a sense of tragic inevitability as whatever they try and do to fix their issues the past will never be forgotten. The rape of Blanche also sees Stanley asserting his territory, rights and dominating his wife. To an extent we can sympathise as to why Stanley must reassert his authority because Blanche’s mistreatment of his hospitality by drinking his alcohol and singing whilst indulgently soaking herself suggests that she has made herself too at home. Afieri is both the chorus and the narrator in ‘A View From the Bridge’...

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