Modern American Plays’ Quotes Term Paper

September 9, 2022 by Essay Writer

Quote from Death of a Salesman (Linda)

In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Linda intends to draw the sons’ attention to the fact that their father, Willy Loman, is worthy of being respected as any other man in the world. Thus, Linda states that Willy Loman is not “a great man,” and he “never made a lot of money” (Miller, 2007, p. 43). However, Willy is “a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person” (Miller, 2007, p. 43). Linda’s speech is important to persuade the sons that any person’s life is significant and should be valued.

Willy commits suicide because he discusses his life as a range of failures and losses (Miller, 2007, p. 64). Having lost his chance to realize the American dream, Willy chooses to cease his meaningless life. Willy’s son Biff is also inclined to assess the people’s lives in relation to the material values. That is why Linda’s monologue is important to demonstrate the other side of the problem and to draw the men’s attention to the fact that Willy should be respected in spite of obstacles and conditions. Thus, Linda’s speech contributes to developing the idea of human dignity presented in the play. Linda tries to shift Biff’s attention from Willy’s flaws to the father’s personal tragedy and to his right to be respected by his sons.

The significance of the quote is in the fact that the author intends to draw the reader and the viewer’s attention to the problems of human dignity and abandonment as an attempt to avoid reality. Willy commits suicide because he feels his inability to address the social ideals of the successful man. In her monologue, Linda addresses this problem in association with the issue of human dignity while stating that “attention must be finally paid to such a person” in spite of the fact that Willy’s “name was never in the paper,” and he is not “the finest character that ever lived” (Miller, 2007, p. 43). Miller reveals the tragedy of Willy through Linda’s eyes and through her attempts to draw the sons’ attention to the observed problem.

While connecting Linda’s words to the contents of the other plays, it is important to discuss the quote with references to Blanche’s words presented in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche DuBois made a lot of mistakes during her life. She feels as unworthy of being respected because of her faults. However, Blanche’s only desire is to be respected by men in spite of her past. Discussing Mitch, Blanche notes: “I want his respect” (Williams, 2004, p. 94).

Both Willy and Blanche discuss themselves as fraudulent and unworthy of being loved and respected. However, the controversy is in the fact that human dignity and respect are the main notions associated with Willy and Blanche’s desires. Thus, all Willy’s actions can be discussed as the attempts to respond to his family’s expectations when Blanche’s actions are associated with her attempts to justify her way of life. These tragic characters experience the pressure of social opinion and norms, and they try to address these factors in a way.

Quote from Long Day’s Journey into Night (Edmund)

Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night is one of the most vivid plays which discuss the problem of self-understanding and the person’s role in society. In this play, Edmund refers to the idea of catharsis while stating: “It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a seagull or a fish” (O’Neill, 2009, p. 79). This quote illustrates Edmund’s thoughts about his success as a man and about the understanding of himself.

In his play, O’Neill discusses the problematic themes of values, the meaning of the people’s lives, and the individual’s value. The characters depicted in Long Day’s Journey into Night do not discuss themselves as respectful members of society, and they cannot be discussed as successful. Furthermore, Edmund notes, “I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a little in love with death!” (O’Neill, 2009, p. 79). Edmund states that he cannot feel secure and as being “at home.” The problem is in the fact that it is almost impossible for Edmund and other characters of the play to become aware of themselves as the respectful and significant members of the society who have the right to find rest and security in their family or at home.

Edmund’s monologue is his reaction to the understanding of his character’s nature. Edmund realizes that his current life is of that kind because he is not respectful, successful, and satisfied. Thus, Edmund is a “stranger” in his life, and he takes the other man’s place because the character cannot feel secure with his family, and he cannot feel the other people’s love. The significance of the quote can be explained with references to the fact that O’Neill pays much attention to discussing the problem of belonging and understanding the individual’s role and position in his play.

The discussed quote from Long Day’s Journey into Night is associated with the topics presented in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. The quote from A Doll’s House which can be compared to Edmund’s monologue is Rank’s statement: “It is no use lying to one’s self” (Ibsen, 1994, p. 38).

This phrase can be discussed as the credo to explain the actions of all the characters in A Doll’s House. The characters of Ibsen’s play should overcome a lot of obstacles in order to find or understand themselves in society and the world around them. Edmund has understood that he could be more successful while being a bird, and Nora has understood that she could be more respected while living apart from her family instead of being a “little singing bird” (Ibsen, 1994, p. 61). Thus, both Edmund and Nora feel that they play strangers’ roles, and they try to find the escape from this situation. Edmund focuses on finding places to rest and feel secure. In her turn, having understood her husband’s attitude and visions, Nora chooses to abandon the situation and escape. This action is Nora’s response to the challenges of reality.

Quote from Andre’s Mother (Cal)

Terrence McNally’s Andre’s Mother is a provocative one-act play that makes the readers and viewers think about their ways of living and sense of life. The quote taken from Andre’s Mother is also important to discuss the problem of the person’s place in life from the perspective of the relations with parents and the family pressure. In Andre’s Mother, Cal notes: “God, how many of us live in this city because we don’t want to hurt our mothers and live in mortal terror of their disapproval. We lose ourselves here” (McNally, 2010, p. 101). Furthermore, Cal adds to his monologue: “Our lives aren’t furtive, just our feelings toward people like you are! A city of fugitives from our parent’s scorn or heartbreak” (McNally, 2010, p. 101). While focusing on this quote, it is significant to determine the basic topics and ideas for the discussion.

Thus, Cal speaks about the role of mothers in the individual’s life; the role of the mothers’ pressure and disapproval; the fear of disapproval; the focus on the other persons’ desires; the situation of losing face and self; the stolen lives; and the hidden desires. Cal focuses on the problem that many people have to live fictitious lives because of their fears to upset mothers or other members of the family and because of their desires to respond to the other people’s visions of the ideal life.

Cal’s monologue said at the funeral ceremony is important to explain the whole idea of McNally’s Andre’s Mother, which can be formulated as the focus on the other people’s visions, desires, and expectations instead of promoting people’s own opinions and ideas. The characters of the play discuss Andre’s mother as one of the sources of the man’s sufferings because he had to hide his real nature and rely only on the possible disapproval of his actions. However, Cal does not state that all the mothers are the same, and he demonstrates his position while accentuating: “Our lives aren’t furtive, just our feelings toward people like you are!” (McNally, 2010, p. 101). This statement is an attempt to draw the mother and other people’s attention to the problem of misunderstanding, disapproval, and prejudice.

The idea presented in Cal’s quote can be connected to the ideas discussed in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Amanda is the mother of Tom and Laura, and all her life is oriented to assisting her children in living according to her vision of the ideal life. However, the problem is in the fact that Amanda’s attempts to change the life of her children are only the results of her own failures and losses. Amanda has lost the opportunity to live a life of a respectful and rich married woman, and now her goal is to help Laura find her happiness in marriage. Nevertheless, Laura does not want any changes in her life, which is the obvious escape from reality. Amanda’s pressure is also the source of troubles for Tom because his method to escape from reality in movies is also disapproved by the mother. As a result, it is possible to speak about “the tyranny of women” depicted in the play (Williams, 2008, p. 94).

Referring to Cal’s words about the “mortal terror of their [mothers’] disapproval,” it is possible to remember Amanda’s actions (McNally, 2010, p. 101). In McNally’s Andre’s Mother and Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, mothers are described as the authoritative persons who discuss their opinions and visions as more important than their children’s visions of the life and desires.


Ibsen, H. (1994). A doll’s house. UK: Nick Hern Books. Web.

McNally, T. (2010). Andre’s mother. Web.

Miller, A. (2007). Death of a salesman. India: Pearson Education. Web.

O’Neill, E. (2009). Long Day’s Journey into Night. USA: Infobase Publishing. Web.

Williams, T. (2004). A streetcar named desire. USA: New Directions Publishing. Web.

Williams, T. (2008). The glass menagerie. USA: Methuen Drama. Web.

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