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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

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The seeds that Willy insists on buying and planting are an important symbol in the play. Willy is frequently troubled by feelings of confusion and inadequacy. He’s uncertain about how to raise his sons and worries that, like his own father, he will be unable to provide for them. When Willy says, "Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground" we have a feeling he’s really talking about his sons and their future. Willy is additionally preoccupied with being well-known and leaving a legacy when he dies. All of these feelings come to a head in Willy’s seed-planting. Through planting seeds, Willy wants to grow something that will thrive, provide for others, and remain after his own death. The most interesting part is that he chooses planting to make up for being a failed salesman—he’s actually better suited to working with his hands, to agriculture, to labor, just like his son Biff.

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