How far do you agree that family is at the centre of Jerusalem and Death of a Salesman? Compare and contrast the presentation of familial responsibility in both plays. The concept of family has changed since the sass’s, compared to the present day. Back then, the old fashioned family value system was seen as the norm – the wife typically stays at home taking care of the domestic side of the household including looking after the children, cleaning and cooking. While the husband goes out and does what was viewed as the ‘hard labor’ work to provide for the family.
Family can be seen to uphold an important role throughout both plays. However, we see more of this conservative view in Death of a Salesman rather than Jerusalem. Miller presents Wily and his families outward appearance as what is seen as the ‘ideal’, but to us this could be a disguise as the audience gradually discovers the issues going on within his family. However Buttonholer explores how much the traditional family role has changed over the years and how the liberal family is evolving, particularly through Johnny and Dawn’s relationship and him as a surrogate father to teenagers searching for identity.
Buttonholer and Miller both present very diverse ideas of family in their plays. This could at first be seen through the settings at the start of each play. Buttonholer presents Johnny as a forty-year-old man who lives in a “mobile home” by himself. The description of his home that stands in a “fairly permanent state” and his surroundings may be seen as a reflection of him and his personality. This description could mean, like his home, Johnny is “fairly permanent”, mainly towards his responsibility as regards to his son.
In the play, Dawn confronts Johnny about not being a good father figure, whilst in other moments we notice Johnny’s maturity as he tries to protect Phaedra. Another way that Johnny is seen as “fairly permanent” is through his incapability to provide a decent phone for Dawn which within “two weeks” of purchase becomes “cut off’ because he forgot to “pay-as-you-go’. This could indicate, like the phone, Johnny is there and working for a short amount of time and before realization he is back to his old, irresponsible, disconnected ways.
In Death of a Salesman, the setting also reflects the Loan family and how perfect their “home” appears to be on the surface. The description that Miller gives is that of a normal home, as it contains a kitchen, the parent’s’ bedroom, the boys’ bedroom which is located “above the unseen living-room”. Although the portrayal of their home seems ordinary, Linda lists that they need “sixteen dollars on the refrigerator… Nine-sixty for the washing machine” and “three and a half” for the “vacuum cleaner”. All of these faults within their home reflect their family.
Everything may seem ideal on the surface but as time goes on, like the possessions, the people within their family begin to wear out and break down, which is mainly aimed towards Wily and Nils growing Illness. Boot sets teen symbolism ten erect Tanat ten surrounding AT can lay had on Wily and Johnny In both plays, Johnny and Wily seem to both had absent fathers in their life. Johnny’s lack of a father figure in his past may be a result of him being what some people interpret as a bad role-model for his son and having a fragile relationship with him.
One of Johnny’s many exaggerated stories includes him describing how he was born from a “bullet”. As bullets are known to cause quick damage it may be interpreted that Johnny’s father has damaged him by leaving him and his life as fast as a “bullet”. From psychologist Bowls study, he suggested that if a “child does not form an attachment before the age of oh years, it would not be possible after”. This theory could explain why Johnny has difficulties having a normal relationship with Mark.
We see Marks incapability of expressing emotional feelings towards Johnny in the stage directions, which may make the audience feel sympathetic towards him as he “doesn’t want to” give Johnny a kiss. Personally, I agree with Bowls theory of attachment because of Marks behavior to Johnny. It seems that Johnny is a stranger to Mark and he communicates with him as if communicating to one of Johnny friends’, which presents that there is not a very strong bind between them.
A flute at the start of Death of a Salesman represents the single faint link Wily has to his father and his faint, delicate appearance, whilst a drum is used in Jerusalem to represent Johnny calling for his son. The music that drifts through the play from the flute remains in the distance which represents the almost non-existent position that Willis father had during his childhood which could be an explanation to the way Wily has turned out. As a grown man, Wily pampers his sons with excessive love to disguise in a way for what he never experienced as a child.
While doing this, he also presses them in an effort to grow into the kind people and characters that he desires. Johnny and Willis sons can be seen as contrasts of each other, essentially between Mark and Biff. Willis son Biff, seems energetic, strong and at first respected amongst his friends as Linda comments on how George, Sam and Frank “obey him” when he gives a command. As the verb “obey’ is used towards someone with authority, for instance a King or a God, this provides a glimpse of how Biffs friends may possibly view him. This ability that Biff seems to possess may have stemmed from the way Wily has brought him up.
Wily is glad about the fact that his sons are “built like Adonis” as an Adonis is the God of desire. This displays that Biff is ultimately “well liked” as his father wishes him to be. On the other hand, Johnny’s son Mark is perceived as the opposite; quiet, fragile and tormented by his school peers as Dawn notifies Johnny that “Mark comes home every day in floods. Scratches. Bruises. “. Which reveals that unlike Biff, Mark cannot be helped from being UN-liked, as people are not fond of his father the “gypped’, this reflects onto him and the lack of responsibility that he has provided for Mark.
Alternatively, Biff can be viewed as a hereafter that cannot live up to his father’s expectations, resulting in him failing in his future life. A traditional quality AT Tanners Is Tanat teen pass on palace to tenet CNN learn. In Down plays the advice passed on by the plays paternal figures show their inadequate ability to be responsible for themselves which leads them to fail in their duty to bring up their sons. However, it can be seen that towards the end of the play, Johnny actually tries to mend what he has broken in his son by giving his heartfelt advice about the worth of “Byron blood”.
By making Mark aware of how much this “blood” is Roth and how the doctors “need” him is Johnny’s way of reassuring Mark that despite what happens, he will always have value and although it does not show on the outside, it is within him. However, the audience is left uncertain whether to believe Johnny’s storytelling at this point and whether it is Just another one of his stories that he uses to distract himself and others from his sticky situations. On the contrary, Wily uses myth and fantasies as a meaner of bringing up his sons. He is a firm believer in the myth of any man who obtains “personal attractiveness” can achieve their dream.
Although, we see his belief plunge through the outcome of Biff and Happy life as at the very start of the play, we discover that both boys are back in their parent’s’ home after “ten years now’ seeing as Biff in particular has not yet found a sturdy Job and “has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week”. We see Wily ignore the love that his family has to offer him through his obsession of money and being liked. Overall, I agree that family is at the centre of both plays and Johnny and Wily fail in their responsibilities to uphold their roles as responsible fathers. However in my view, Wily is a bigger failure than Johnny.
Although Johnny’s failure to be a dependable father and untrustworthy partner leads him to have an unflinching relationship with Dawn and Mark, it can be seen that this side that he lacks is redeemed through his attempt to hide and protect Phaedra from her abusive step- dad Troy. Whilst Wily, even though he ends his life to financially support his family, he leaves without mending the damaged relationship between Biff and Happy and forces his wife Linda out of conventional role as a housewife, to be the head of the household, resulting in Wily failing to achieve his “American Dream”. Word count: 1 ,507