IB LIT 2
“Paper 2” Assessment:
Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
Façade: an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality. In both works of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams’ and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the main characters’ of each play put up what is known as a Façade throughout the entirety of the play until each character finally “breaks”. Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire puts up the façade that she is a young, rich, and established woman who is simply visiting her sister to help her deal with marital issues. Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman puts up a similar façade that he is an extremely successful salesman who is loved by all and highly regarded. Both of these disguises that are put on by the characters are shown by the various symbols used by both authors throughout the plays. The role of symbolism in each of these works are similar due to the fact they both show how the characters are being outwardly “fake” but they are internally struggling. Despite the fact that these symbols show how both of the characters are putting up façades, they also represent the different goals of each of the characters. Blanche DuBois puts up a façade in which she tries to prolong her life, while Willy Loman puts up a façade whilst he contemplates ending his life early. Willy Loman and Blanche DuBois both try to escape from their less pleasant reality.
Willy Loman was once a great salesman, but now at the age 63 he is old and unstable, insecure, and self-deluded. For the majority of the later years of his life Willy created this façade of himself that he presented to all of the people in his life. The person he presented himself to be was an extremely successful salesman who was known throughout all of New England and the people including police officers loved and respected him. The lies that Willy told were directed mainly towards his two sons, Biff and Happy. Willy told his sons these lies because he wanted them to be impressed with the kind of man he was. Willy was infatuated with the idea that in order to be successful you need to be well-liked. The façade that he created is used as an escape from the reality that Willy lives. In actuality Willy isn’t successful, he hates his line of work, he is not well-liked, and he has many regrets in his life. A symbol that represents Willy and his façade is the Rubber Hose. The rubber hose is incorporated into the play as a method of suicide for Willy. The hose is a constant reminder to Willy of the vivid fantasy that he has created for himself and has chosen to live in. At one point in the story Biff removes the rubber hose from its hiding spot in the basement, this then adds onto the façade that Willy has created. Linda believes that Willy is in fact doing better and not contemplating suicide so he removed the hose himself, but in actuality Wi...