Many symbols are incorporated into the play “Death of a Sales man” andthey in turn relate to both character and theme. The hose, tape recorderand th e seeds are some of these symbols. The hose in Miller’s drama directly relates to the theme of d eath. The hose is a line attached to the gas main in Willy’s house which allowshim to snif f the gas. This action can be seen as Willy’s suicide wish, andescape from the realities of life.
As seen in the loss of his job and hisfailure to succeed. The hose also represents grief and deception. For whenLinda, Willy’s wife, finds the hose, she is distraught over its in tendedpurpose. The deceptive nature of the hose is apparent when Willy isconfronted about it by Biff his son and Willy denies its existence. Asimilar denial is also evident when Willy is confronted with the taperecorder in Howard’s office.
The tape recorder signifies the change in Willy’s life throug h theadvancement of technology. It also represents the end of Willy’s career. This is brought about when Howard, Willy’s boss and godson, shows the taperecorder to Willy and appe ars to be more interested in the sound andtechnology of the machine instead of Willy, who i s fighting for his job. Howard no longer need s Willy’s services and without concern fires him.
This , to Willy, was like, “eating the orange and throwing away the peel”. However, Willy is partly to blame, as he does not accept change and wantsto remain in the pas t. This is foreshadowed in the scene where Willy isleft alone with the tape recorder and is unable to shut it off. Willybelieves in using his old techniques and style to succeed. N evertheless,in hi job, it is not what you know, but it is who you know.
Willy is not upto date with the business nor technology. Yet, Willy still has hope, andwishes to leave some fo rm of support behind for his family as illustratedin his planting of the seeds. Willy feels that he must leave something behind something for Biff. InWilly’s imaginary world he wants Biff to be magnificent and he symbolically plants seeds in his garden. In spite of such an action he is doomed tofail.
Willy sta rts planting the seeds at night, but at night there is nosun shining and this seems very od d as seeds require light to grow. Whatelse is strange is the fact that Willy’s house is boxed in between largeapartment buildings and is covered by the shadows cast by them. It iseviden t that no light will fall on Willy’s garden. Willy’s attempt toplant and grow seeds is futile, but he persist in his attempt to seekreconciliation and forgiveness. Thus the hose, tape record er and the seedsare all symbolic of Willy’s dreams gone sour, and his inability to live inthe present.
His death is inevitable and is mirrored by his life.