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Word Count: 1,361
Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman is a deceptively simple play The simplicity of the play however quickly dissolves into a respectful ambiguity through Millers ingenious stage directions nonverbal expressions and most importantly his musical design From the opening notes to their final reprise the audience is enormously attracted by what Tennessee Williams called the plastic theatre Williams 213 The use of musical expression complements the textual version of the play creating a more lucid production This willingness that Miller has to open up his theatre to more than merely a language-embedded performance allowed him to create a lyric drama a more poetic theatre through the melodic themes The musical motifs assume important roles in the production roles accentuating the conflicts that the Lomans articulate to the audience through language They foreground through metaphor many of the plays deeper ambiguities and discords Millers musical themes express the competing influences in Willy Lomans mind Once established the themes need only to be sounded to evoke certain time frames emotions and values The first sounds of the drama the flute notes small and fine represent the grass trees and horizon These are objects of Willys and Biffs longing that are tellingly absent from the overshadowed home on which the curtain rises This melody plays on as Willy makes his initial appearance although as Miller tells us he hears but is not aware of it 1165 Through this melodious music we are thus given our first sense of Willys estrangement not only from the nature itself but also from his own deep nature that confuses happiness with success The flute music also holds important past references for Willy Ben informs Willy that their father made flutes and sold them during the familys early wanderings 1185 As Ben enters into their fathers biography a new music is heard introducing an additional musical theme as the father is characterized by a high rollicking tune 1184 The tune is differentiated from
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