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The Role of Defense Mechanisms in Willy Loman's Character: A Freudian and Marxist Analysis of Death of a Salesman
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2020 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The field of psychoanalysis makes it possible to make an in-depth study of the protagonist in the play Death of a Salesman. After performing such an analysis, this paper suggests that Willy suffers from mental illness and that he is obsessed with living the American Dream. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of defense mechanisms such as repression, projection and frustration reveals that the protagonist views human dignity as standing in direct relation to an individual’s socioeconomic status. This paper concludes that Willy Loman measures human value in terms of material objects which eventually become the underlying cause of his death. The Marxist concept of ideology is used as a tool to investigate the influence of the American Dream on the protagonist’s mind and the play may express a Marxist criticism against society. This paper reveals that many of Willy’s illusions may be depicted as a critique against the American Dream and the play may give a direct example of how ideology can function according to the theory of false consciousness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. , p. 25
Keywords [en]
Repression, Projection, Frustration, Defense mechanisms, Marxism, The American Dream
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-32012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-32012DiVA, id: diva2:1412711
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Upper Secondary Teacher Education Programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-03-10 Created: 2020-03-06 Last updated: 2020-03-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf