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You are watching: Dramatic irony in death of a salesman


Dramatic affect in ‘Death of a Salesman’

and two sample paragraphs

(Dramatic affect directs the audience’s response)

I imagine the this web page will it is in of most use to teachers or very live independence learners! that is the direct result of my to teach notes and it has not been amended … so although the is a bit much better than one aide memoire, mine examples and also pointers are brief and not comprehensive.


How Miller builds suspense (i.e. The audience marvels what will happen and also how occasions will transpire)

a delays in discovering events: acts 1 and 2 have a two-day ‘frame’.

b Shifting between present and past

i simultaneously past and present

ii usage of memories

iii usage of flashbacks

iv blurring between memory and imagined memory

v imagined conversation v dead man

How tension and conflict is arisen between characters. 

a unsaid items

b dramatic irony

c anger

d surprise

e annoyance etc

f monologue

g dialogue

i inquiries & commands

ii sentence length

iii usage of interruptions

iv hesitation

Character’s very own words reveal their natures and also beliefs e.g.:Linda’s naivete for buying the washing an equipment that had the biggest advertisement.

a Hesitation and stuttering

b Patent untruths e.g.: what Willy has sold

c repetition (see ‘repetition’ below)

d Willy talking to himself and also talking come someone who is not there.

e Contradiction

 Use the a character to e.g.:

a voice an opinion top top another.

b display admiration

c present disappointment

d repeating someone else’s native (there’s always a reason for act this – additionally see ‘repetition’ below)

The various different purposes that repetition appear in:

a words

b images (motifs)

c concepts (motifs)

d revisiting moments

e recurring references


a past and present

b in between characters e.g. Biff and also Happy

c in between character responses

d juxtapositioning of various elements

e therapy of Biff and Happy,

f Willys’ treatment of Linda and the woman

g Willy’s optimism and feelings of hopelessness

Irony e.g.:

a Willy tries to teach his boy to succeed in a method that ensures that they will certainly fail.

b Willy’s insurance claim to success in service – this becomes dramatic irony together the audience realises the fact when Linda and also his sons perform not.

c Charlie is ‘not well-liked’ however he is both successful and generous

d Willy think it important to be well-liked but he states ‘people don’t seem to take to me’ (22)

e aims to stay at house yet dram begins, at a later date, with him return exhausted.


The action of a character and also other phase directions often disclose inner feeling e.g.:

a activity and gesture e.g. Put an eight round someone

b movement

c feelings

d usage of sounds

i. Music

ii. Flute

iii laughter

e set (and the meaning of that is symbolism) e.g. Use of set e.g.

i moving through wall line show break down of Willy’s feeling of reality.

ii place on stage

iii leaves falling

 Scene setting:

a the collection (see next over ‘e’) being alone top top stage

b speed back

c Memories are actually relived

d progressive revealing that the truth

e raising the stress and anxiety e.g. What led to the rift? sudden or gradual increase/release

f frame of a scene e.g. Blurring of reality, blending of past with present. Willy alone in the kitchen prior to the scene in the past.


a irony

b dramatic irony

c satire

d hyperbole

Use and also symbolic significance of props

a e.g. The polished car represents pride, admiration, devotion et

b the water tap piping

c seeds

d ball

e stockings

Tragedy – audience is moved to pity and also terror

a success (or noticeable success) that protagonist

b protagonist has actually fatal flaw

c fatal flaw reasons fall

d realisation the flaw

e one might likewise consider the failure of facets of The American Dream


TWO SAMPLE PARAGRAPHS to present how evaluation of dramatic features establishes the main points:

In the flashback , Willy reveals  that his dream is to have his own business and never ‘have to leaving home any more’. This dramatic irony creates empathy indigenous the audience, as we first see Willy at the begin of the play getting here home from a trip, that is years later . This bring to life among the themes of the play together Willy never managed to attain his dream of having his very own business. Miller explores the irony that the American Dream is not simply accomplished through gift a devoted and faithful worker, together was commonly thought , at the time of creating in the 1940s.

Willy claims , however, the his job has its rewards in gift well-liked . He is displayed to boast hyperbolically to his sons the the cops in new England safeguard his vehicle ‘like your own.’ He however  admits  that ‘people nothing seem to require to me’ once he is talking privately  to Linda and also although she dismisses this through a short, ‘Oh, don’t be foolish.’ , we quickly see her action of darning stockings, which is a symbol of straightened circumstances, to be a clean indication the his personal doubts are accurate and that that is a failure. The audience progressively becomes aware of the nature that his fatal flaw before Willy go himself, thus raising the suspense in the unfolding tragedy 



In every passage based questions, you should aim come cover what you think about to be the key areas, i m sorry are relevant to the question. You deserve to go through the step in order yet do not simply start with the first phrase and also stop when your time is up! Make web links with various other parts of the pat – to develop the meaning of your an answer but save your emphasis on the extract itself.

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Embed your quotes into the sentences whenever feasible – this will save them short and help fluency e.g. Willy exaggerates his popular to the extent that that even insurance claims that the police protect his vehicle ‘like their own’.Always resolve the dramatic gadgets as an integral part of your analysis of a play. These are provided to delve right into the feel of the characters, to build the themes and to direct audience response.

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