Top Girls’ and ‘Death of a Salesman’ are plays that both exemplify the importance of money and what it means to people. The plays however differ in how the protagonists, Marlene and Wily, use and make use of the money they have earned. Furthermore the protagonists Juxtapose each other as they both come from different alas of life which illustrate to the audience why the pursuit of wealth is important to them.
In the plays the playwrights display how the characters use the money they earn. In act two of ‘Top Girls’ Win and Louise talk about their weekend at work: “Work hard play hard” This shows the audience that during the week the women believe that they “work hard” within the workplace. Another Interpretation is that the women are competing whilst they work to get a promotion which would lead to a pay rise; therefore they work hard as more money will be their ambition. ‘Play hard’ evokes he impression that they are very relaxed after work and It Is of Importance to them to enjoy themselves.
However this may be seen as complacency and laziness as after work finishes they do nothing extra to help themselves. Therefore they believe that they will be promoted without doing much more work. The quote also suggests that they use the money earned on luxuries rather than Investments. This Implies that although money Is a key component of their lives, they do not use It to enhance themselves to get a higher paid Job meaning that they are not fully committed to get more wealth. In comparison In ‘Death of a Salesman’ Wily talks to Linda about his remaining payments “Once In my life I would Like to own something outright before It’s broken! This shows the audience that Wily buys products that are not of a high quality which break once they are paid for. This suggests that Wily struggles to pay for his goods and only manages to break even. Therefore Wily continues to work to try and keep the family afloat where as Marlene In ‘Top Girls’ neglects her family for personal enjoyment. Wily strives to earn more as he needs to keep payments on things Like his car and the refrigerator. Therefore he must work to try and earn more so that they can afford better, more reliable things.
However another Interpretation Is that Wily sounds Like he has given up and that throughout his life he has had nothing of value to rightly call his own and that he Is a broken man who has lost the spark that would be necessary for a salesman. Consequently Wily will never have what he wants no matter how much he tries to earn the money to do so as no one will want to buy products from him, this links to Wally’s pursuit of wealth as he will The plays both display how Marlene and Wily regard other people by their features n the outset without fully getting to know them.
In ‘Top Girls’, Angier visits Marlene at her office, she falls asleep and Marlene talks about her to her colleagues: “She’s a bit think… She’s not going to make it. “. In class discussions most of my peers believed that Marlene did not see Angier becoming successful because she resented her as she would have prevented Marlene achieving her ambition. This links to Marten’s pursuit of wealth as she was fully prepared to cut her own child from her life to excel further in her career. The quote also elicits the idea that Marlene has categorized
Angier into a Job based on her grades and without fully getting to know her as a person to see how capable she is. This also suggests that Marlene believes that to achieve a higher level of wealth she must look good on paper with outstanding grades regardless of her work ethic. Similarly in ‘Death of a Salesman’ Wily draws his opinion of people and what they will be like by their appearance: “That’s why I thank God you’re built like Adonis”. This suggests that Wily believes that due to their appearance his sons will be successful in the “Business world”.
Wily also criticizes Bernard and calls him “Anemic”. This implies that because Bernard does not look strong he will not succeed in being liked hence, he will not be successful. This links to the pursuit of wealth as because Wily believes in ‘Calvinist’ he thinks that work will come to his sons without them making any effort to try and get it. Therefore he has a lethargic approach to work as unlike Marlene in ‘Top Girls’ he considers grades to be insignificant where as Marlene sees these as essential to achieve a higher level of wealth.
The plays also show the work done by the characters to earn their money, which splay to the audience how different they are. In ‘Death off Salesman’ Wily tells his children about how to be successful in the world: “The man who makes an appearance in the business world, who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. ” This evokes the impression that Willis approach to work is fairly laid-back. This is because he is trying to place his core beliefs onto his children that being popular is more important than having a good quality work ethic.
Another interpretation is that Wily, in fact, is not lazy but he does is most to make a positive impression upon everyone he meets. The audience knows that he travels nationwide therefore he attempts to make many links with as many people as possible. As a whole it is clear that Wily is determined to earn by going to extreme lengths however the reader knows that a “smile and shoeshine” will not benefit him to any extent in terms of being successful.
However in Act 1 of ‘Top Girls’ Marlene talks about her free time to Isabella “l haven’t time for a holiday’ This was an attempt by Marlene for self-satisfaction within the midst of a group of more interesting women. This elicits the idea that Marlene is a hard worker who labors to try and make an impression and do everything too high standard. The idea that Marlene has no time for a vacation suggests that she has work to do all the time and that she is a key component within the Top Girls agency.
This also implies that, in comparison to Win and Louise, Marlene is not complacent and will not leave work to dedicated and passionate for her work and that she aspires to keep getting promoted up the work ladder until she reaches the top. Therefore Marlene is work-orientated ND will always strive to better herself by having a higher classed Job with a better wage, however in ‘Death of a Salesman’ Wily does try with his work except he, but unlike Marlene he tries harder to make people like him to get work and more money rather than trying to secure a sale to get a steady wage.
In conclusion both ‘Top Girls’ and ‘Death of a Salesman’ show the pursuit of wealth clearly through the protagonists and other characters. The plays both show how the characters earn their money, use their money and their ideals towards wealth. However the pursuit of wealth is more clearly shown in ‘Death of a Salesman’ because n comparison to Marlene, Wily is in a much more desperate position as he must work to pay for basic things such as household appliances where as Marlene has enough money to go on expensive holidays exotic places.
Even though Marlene is desperate to constantly work when she does not need to, so that she can achieve more wealth, Wily must work by traveling to distant places even when he does not want to, when he is not of good health and when people do not buy from him. Therefore Willis pursuit of Wealth is more of a struggle than Marten’s which causes the audience to sympathies with him more so.