Seeds can be discussed as the most intriguing image presented in Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” because seeds symbolize the hope of the main character Willy for the best future and, at the same time, the character’s frustration because of lost opportunities. Willy understands that his idea of planting seeds is rather controversial, but it is his way to change the life for better.
Willy states: “I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground” (Miller 61). Willy has nothing, but he uses a chance to receive something while planting seeds. The importance of this image is in its complex nature because Willy is preoccupied with the idea to plant seeds as the way to cope with the life issues and certain financial and moral difficulties in spite of the real perspectives to change the life of Willy’s family.
Miller concentrates on the image of seeds because it is associated with the growth and prosperity, and Willy suffers from the lack of these aspects in the life of his family because his sons, as well as Willy himself, cannot realize their potential and achieve higher goals. From this point, the image of seeds with the meaning of growth and prosperity and as the reflection of the main character’s hope for the better future and for the positive results of his actions is closely linked to Willy.
Thus, the image of seeds is presented clearly in the play when Willy discusses the idea of planting with his wife. Willy states, “on the way home tonight I’d like to buy some seeds” (Miller 50). However, the response of Willy’s wife provides a reader with the idea that Willy’s plans cannot be successful. Linda states in response to Willy’s idea: “That’d be wonderful. But not enough sun gets back there. Nothing’ll grow any more” (Miller 51).
Referring to this dialogue, it is possible to note that the image of seeds can play different roles with references to the main characters’ vision of the future perspectives. Thus, frustrated Willy hopes to find some relief in planting seeds and in providing some food for the family when Linda focuses on the idea’s loss.
The image of seeds is related to the idea and symbol of the American dream shared in Willy’s family. Willy is seeking for relief in planting seeds because it is his response to Biff’s lost possibilities to become the prominent athlete.
Willy wants to plant seeds in order to see the real results of his activity because his focus on the American dream did not provide him with any observed outcomes (Murphy 48). While planting seeds, it is possible to hope for the future compensation because Willy feels guilty due to impossibility to change the life of the family for better or to change the results of the children’s upbringing.
It is possible to state that Miller relies on the image of seeds as the representation of Willy’s hopes through the object belonging to the tangible reality which can be manipulated as well as money which Willy lacks. The image of seeds provided in Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” is important to be chosen for the discussion because all the main themes and problems of the play can be analyzed with references to this complex image.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. USA: Heinemann, 1994. Print.
Murphy, Brenda. Miller: Death of a Salesman. USA: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print.