Heard an interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman this morning, and he said something right at the end that could be dismissed as trite. But I keep replaying it in my head, and that’s normally enough for me to bring it here and see what comes into my brain, and then onto the page.
They were talking about Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Mr Hoffman said that essentially this is what the play (and life by extension) was about. About everyone, ‘Wanting to be loved.’
Really? A bit of a simplification, don’t you think?
I’m a bit hesitant on this one, but am certainly willing to be convinced.
I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be true. We’re all social creatures after all, and therefore want to be accepted. Being loved is being accepted for who you are, which – I would argue – is the ultimate acknowledgement.
I suppose so. Still seems a bit simplistic, but maybe that’s me trying to seek out the more complicated answer where the simplest is needed.
“To love is to be loved. Not in a little way but in a way to be acknowledged”
It’s true. I suspect acknowledgement is actually the sort of love many of us are after.
I agree, to an extent. As to the play, yes. One of my favorite plays of all time. The line that sums up the play for me belongs to Willy’s wife. She has a monologue about how Willy’s spent his life working himself to the bone, and in his old age, those he loves, that he thought loved him, and his friends, have forgotten him. “Attention must finally be paid to such a person,” she says. It gives me chills every time. Because it’s what we all want, isn’t it? Attention to be paid. To be told we matter. Whether or not we admit it, whether or not we deserve it. And isn’t that what love is, simplified? Attention. Focused, singular attention. Being chosen, out of all the others, for that attention.
As for life – well, I don’t know if, like the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s *all* about. It does seem like a bit of an oversimplification. Is being loved one of the best things about life? Absolutely. But there are a lot of other wonderful things. Accomplishing something on your own. Creating something beautiful where nothing like it existed before. Loving others. Finding beauty in unexpected places. Finding kindness in unexpected places. Those are all pretty great, too. So, yes, wanting to be loved, being loved – they’re part of the whole. But they’re by no means the entirety.
The play? That was just my excuse to get to the bigger picture. Although I like the writing, I’ve never seen an above-average performance in the theatre. I’ve seen films and I’ve seen films of stage shows, but I’d love to see Philip Seymour Hoffman play Willy Loman.
As for life, you’ve summed it up beautifully Amy. I don’t need to say any more than you have. Thanks for making this easier for me.
It just struck me that Philip Seymour Hoffman is old enough to play Willy Loman, and PSH is about my age. When did I get old enough to relate to Willy and not the kids? THIS is an upsetting life development.
In regards to the play, I agree. Whenever my husband and I discuss anyone who really wants to be liked and/or loved by everyone, to the point where their only opinion is the one of the person they’re talking to, we usually refer to he/she as “a real Willy Loman”.
In terms of life, I love how Amy put it. Although, in a way, we could all find the desire for love in all of those aspects.
Thanks for giving me something to really ruminate on as I drink my first cup of coffee…I feel like one of those people who go for a long run first thing in the morning…my brain’s all tight and loose at once.
I like the way you described your ‘tight and loose‘ brain. I know how that is. All too well.
And calling individuals ‘a real Willy Loman‘? I’m going to start doing that. I hope I can remember to give borkadventures credit.
Wanting as opposed to needing? I guess I could go along with that.
Semantics, but important semantics.
Always hated the play. Thought it was a very one-dimensional, limited and literal portrayal of one profession that damaged it forever. Also, in the version I saw, I didn’t like the guy’s shoes. The didn’t need to be loved, They needed to be burnt.
When I was a kid doing drama, I played the mirror in Snow White, dressed an Napoleon. It was such a huge comic success that next year, when we did The Wizard of OZ it was re-written to incorporate the Mirror from Snow White into the Wizard’s retinue. From there is seemed an Academy Award was inevitable, and then the next year: Death of a Salesman and no role for my Mirror.
So instead of fame, fortune, awards and a best-selling autobiography entitled “Reflected Glory” I had to fall back on my second professional choice, Rock Superstar. Sadly, also not a success. Which is a shame because all I ever wanted was to be loved. And Adored. And Famous,. And filthy rich. Instead I ended up as a computer salesman.
This play by Arthur Miller should be dustbinned because your talking mirror couldn’t be incorporated? I guess I see the logic in that. What am I saying? No, I don’t that’s nuts.
The creator of the soon-to-be-world-famous tea blend called Lord Petersham will be all those things. Not least adored.
You didn’t see the Mirror. I was awesome. No-one seeing it would have imagined that my time as a star of the stage would be so abruptly foreshortened by the cruel indifference of a year 11 drama teacher
I was reading about chemicals in the brain and how not having the right social relationships, even from a young age, can set them all out of wack. Without these brain chemicals causing us to react emotionally, we would be a bunch of robots. Or, more accurately, lizards, since mammals are the ones with all these bonding chemicals firing off everywhere. You never see any lizards writing plays about the meaning of life.