Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller
American playwright, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, short story writer, nonfiction writer, travel writer, children's writer, and autobiographer.
The following entry presents criticism on Miller's play Death of a Salesman (1949) through 2002. For further information on his life and complete works, see CLC, Volumes 1, 2, 6, 10, and 26.
With its first production in 1949, Death of a Salesman firmly established Miller's reputation as one of the premiere American playwrights. Structured as a modern tragedy, the play depicts the last twenty-four hours in the life of Willy Loman, a sixty-three-year-old traveling salesman, who for thirty-six years has sold his wares all over New England. Miller utilizes Loman's disillusionment with his life and career as a means to measure the enormous gap between the American Dream's promise of eventual success and the devastating reality of one's concrete failure. Both a critical and popular success, Death of a Salesman has received a Tony Award, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and a Pulitzer Prize as well as being adapted for film and television on several occasions. Death of a Salesman is widely recognized as Miller's masterpiece and is frequently listed along side Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night as one of the canonical works of American drama.
Plot and Major Characters
Death of a Salesman opens with Willy Loman returning to his wife, Linda, at their home in Brooklyn, New York, after an unsuccessful sales trip. The play's structure subverts the traditional linear narrative by intermingling Willy's internal monologues and past recollections with the present action of the plot. After he arrives in Brooklyn, Willy is soon visited by his two grown sons, Biff and Happy (Hap). The eldest son, Biff, a former high school football star, has travelled the country holding a series of aimless jobs. Hap works in a dead-end job at a New York department store and spends most of his time chasing women and drinking. Willy is extremely critical of his sons' lack of direction and, in turn, Biff and Hap regard him as ineffectual and worry that he is becoming senile in his old age. After talking to Linda about Biff's failure to find a career, Willy recalls his son's success as a football star and is soon reminded of his own marital infidelities with a woman he met on the road. Willy eventually shifts focus to criticizing Hap's spending habits and becomes upset. His neighbor Charlie calms him down and the two men play a game of cards. After Charlie leaves, Willy reminisces about his brother Ben, who left for Africa to mine diamonds and became a great financial success. When Linda finds Willy ranting alone about the past, he leaves the house to take a walk. Concerned about his father's erratic behavior, Biff confronts his mother who accuses him of neglecting his father. When Hap joins the conversation, Linda accuses them both of being ungrateful and of turning their backs on their father. She then reveals that Willy has tried to kill himself on several occasions. When Willy returns, Hap tells him that Biff is going to approach his old boss, Bill Oliver, for a loan to open a sporting-goods store. Although Biff is against the idea, he goes along with the deception to make his father happy.
The next day, Willy finds that he has been fired from his sales job after thirty-six years of service. Upset and on his way to Charlie's office to ask for a job, Willy runs into Charlie's son, Ben, who was a classmate of Biff's. Ben reveals that Biff was irrevocably changed by a surprise visit to Willy during his senior year in high school. Ben comments that, after his abrupt return, Biff became uninterested in college and lost his motivation to better himself. Meanwhile, Biff meets Hap at a restaurant to inform him that he was unable to get the loan from Bill Oliver. However, Biff does admit that he has come to the realization that he has to change his life. When Willy arrives at the restaurant, Biff attempts to tell him the truth about their deception and his failed meeting. Willy leaves his sons and has a flashback to the fateful sales trip when Biff's surprise visit revealed Willy's adulterous affair. Later, back at the family home, Biff confronts Willy about his suicide attempts and informs his father that he will leave in the morning, planning never to return. At that moment, Willy decides to commit suicide, convinced that the settlement on his life insurance policy will provide Biff with the wealth he needs to start a new life. The play concludes with Willy's funeral as the assembled characters reflect on Willy's life and legacy.
Critics have maintained that much of the enduring universal appeal of Death of a Salesman lies in its central theme of the failure of the American Dream. Willy's commitment to false social values—consumerism, ambition, social stature—keeps him from acknowledging the value of human experience—the comforts of personal relationships, family and friends, and love. When Willy realizes that his true value lies in being a good father, he chooses to sacrifice himself in order to give his sons the material wealth he has always desired. In a broader sense, some commentators perceive the play as an indictment of American capitalism and a rejection of materialist values. Competition and responsibility are also prominent themes in Death of a Salesman. For example, Willy's tendency to evade responsibility for his behavior and his penchant for blaming others has been passed onto his sons and, as a result, all three men exhibit a poor work ethic and lack of integrity. Willy's inability to discern between reality and fantasy is another recurring motif, particularly as seen through the subjective reality of the play's structure. Miller creates an environment in Death of a Salesman where the real time of the play and the internal workings of Willy's mind are brought together. This refusal to separate subjective and objective truths is further reflected in Willy's inability to see his sons for who they really are, which becomes major source of conflict in the play.
Although Death of a Salesman is widely regarded as one of the greatest American plays of the twentieth century, there has been some critical debate over Miller's assertion that the play is, in fact, a modern tragedy. Some reviewers have argued that the work cannot be considered a tragedy in the traditional sense because Willy does not fit the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Others have countered, asserting that Willy attains tragic dimensions by virtue of his intense passion to surpass his earthly limitations. In support of this claim, Robert A. Martin has commented that, “Is there more to the idea of tragedy than transcends the struggle between father and son for forgiveness and dignity?” In addition to these questions of classification, Death of a Salesman has also attracted critical notice for its sophisticated critique of the role of capitalism in American society. Commentators have noted that Willy's failure to understand and achieve the American Dream strongly resonates with modern audiences, contributing significantly to its enduring popularity. Death of a Salesman has remained critically and commercially popular since its first performance—a fiftieth-anniversary production in 1999 won a Tony Award for Best Play Revival.
The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who was a Man (radio play) 1941
The Man Who Had All the Luck (play) 1944
Situation Normal (nonfiction) 1944
Focus (novel) 1945
Grandpa and the Statue (radio play) 1945
All My Sons (play) 1947
The Story of Gus (radio play) 1947
Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem (play) 1949
An Enemy of the People [adaptor; from the play by Henrik Ibsen] (play) 1950
The Crucible (play) 1953
*A Memory of Two Mondays (play) 1955
*A View from the Bridge (play) 1955; revised two-act version, 1956
†Arthur Miller's Collected Plays, Volume One (plays) 1957; republished as Plays: One, 1988
The Misfits (screenplay) 1961
Jane's Blanket [illustrations by Al Parker] (juvenilia) 1963
After the Fall (play) 1964
Incident at Vichy (play) 1964
I Don't Need You Any More (short stories) 1967
The Price (play) 1968
In Russia [with Inge Morath] (travel writing) 1969
The Creation of the World and Other Business...
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SOURCE: Rosinger, Lawrence. “Miller's Death of a Salesman.” Explicator 45, no. 2 (winter 1987): 55-6.
[In the following essay, Rosinger discusses the allusions to classical drama and mythology in Death of a Salesman.]
In commenting on Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller has stated emphatically that modern tragedies need not be bound by Aristotelian principles, especially since the tragedies of our time can revolve about an ordinary person, a Willy Loman, rather than one of high status.1 It is therefore interesting to note that the vocabulary of Death of a Salesman in several instances suggests an older type of drama.
For example, Miller imparts to the salesman's world an element of earlier tragedy when Willy, speaking of his deceased boss, asserts: “That man was a prince, he was a masterful man” (133).2 The word “prince” (with its ironic hint of royalty) is again stressed in the restaurant scene, when Willy goes to the washroom and Biff says to Miss Forsythe: “you've just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hardworking, unappreciated prince” (204).
Miller also includes several allusions to classical mythology. In the opening stage direction, he describes Linda as “[m]ost often jovial” and Willy as having a “mercurial nature” (my emphasis) (131). These unspoken references to...
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SOURCE: Hadomi, Leah. “Fantasy and Reality: Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a Salesman.” Modern Drama 31, no. 2 (June 1988): 157-74.
[In the following essay, Hadomi provides a stylistic analysis of Death of a Salesman through the examination of “the ways in which the rhythmic organization of the play is managed in respect of three structural elements in the play: characterization, symbolic clusters, and the plot.”]
The subtitle of Death of a Salesman, “Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem,”1 as well as the title originally considered by the playwright, The Inside of His Head, already point to the play's thematic essence and major formal characteristic. Thematically, Miller's drama deals with the tension between the private inner world of the protagonist and external reality. Its principal structural characteristic consists of the integration of dramatic realism and expressionism.2
The conflicting inner selves that make up Willy Loman's many-sided persona represent his experience of the outer world refracted through the distorting medium of his fantasies. As the action of the play progresses, the connections between Willy's inner world and external reality—which are tenuous enough to begin with—grow increasingly unstable and volatile until he is driven to kill himself, the ultimate act of self-deception in his...
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SOURCE: Babcock, Granger. “‘What's the Secret?’: Willy Loman as Desiring Machine.” American Drama 2, no. 1 (fall 1992): 59-83.
[In the following essay, Babcock examines how Death of a Salesman presents Willy Loman as a product of capitalist society, noting that the “system of value that the play represents permits no true relationship between men; it permits only isolation through competition.”]
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1949) conveys its critique of American capital in a more complex and subtle manner than critics have thus far recognized. Most criticism of the play, as Sheila Huftel points out, is “governed by the need … to know and understand Willy Loman” (103). Unfortunately, much of the energy expended to understand Willy has been too narrowly focused on analyzing the individuated character traits of the protagonist and the attendant issue of tragic stature. The play, in fact, suggests just the opposite—that Willy is not autonomous, self-generated, or self-made (even in “failure”), but that he is completely other to himself; he is more puppet than person, more machine than man, and as such he announces the death, or disappearance, of the subject, the death of the tragic hero, and the birth of “the desiring machine.”
Most critics recognize that Arthur Miller intends Willy Loman as a victim of “society.” But Willy's...
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SOURCE: Centola, Steven R. “Family Values in Death of a Salesman.” CLA Journal 37, no. 1 (September 1993): 29-41.
[In the following essay, Centola characterizes Death of a Salesman as a modern tragedy, drawing focus to how Willy Loman's core values of family and self exert an indelible force on his relationship with his son Biff.]
Studies of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman invariably discuss Willy Loman's self-delusion and moral confusion in relation to Miller's indictment of the competitive, capitalistic society that is responsible for dehumanizing the individual and transforming the once promising agrarian American dream into an urban nightmare.1 While Miller clearly uses Willy's collapse to attack the false values of a venal American society, the play ultimately captures the audience's attention not because of its blistering attack on social injustice but because of its powerful portrayal of a timeless human dilemma. Simply put, Miller's play tells the story of a man who, on the verge of death, wants desperately to justify his life. As he struggles to fit the jagged pieces of his broken life together, Willy Loman discovers that to assuage his guilt, he must face the consequences of past choices and question the values inherent in the life he has constructed for himself and his family. Willy's painful struggle “to evaluate himself justly”2 is...
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SOURCE: Shockley, John S. “Death of a Salesman and American Leadership: Life Imitates Art.” Journal of American Culture 17, no. 2 (summer 1994): 49-56.
[In the following essay, Shockley explores the similarities between Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and the life of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.]
Death of a Salesman hit the American stage in 1949, catapulting Arthur Miller into the status of the “greats” of American dramatists. While the play was never without its critics, who argued over whether the play could appropriately be called a “tragedy,” whether the writing was a bit stilted, and whether Miller's message about American capitalism and the American dream was a bit garbled, it still was an enormously popular play among theater-goers and critics. All of them seemed to find something of the American creed, and of themselves, in the play.1
But more than 40 years have passed since the play was written. Should we now view the play as a dated relic of another age, or does it still resonate with the American character? Is the play primarily the personal problem of an aging playwright whose formative years were spent in the Great Depression, and who therefore could never “trust” American capitalism again?2 If so, do we have little need to understand Death of a Salesman or come to terms with it? On the contrary, I...
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SOURCE: Phelps, H. C. “Miller's Death of a Salesman.” Explicator 53, no. 4 (summer 1995): 239-40.
[In the following essay, Phelps examines the uncertainty regarding Biff's love for his father in Death of a Salesman, faulting critics for easily accepting Biff's affection as the impetus for Willy's suicide.]
Curiously, most critics seem to accept at face value the assumption that at the conclusion of Arthur Miller's classic drama Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman determines to commit suicide because his older son Biff has at last openly and unequivocally declared his “love” for his father (e.g., Aarnes 104; Bigsby 123; Hynes 286; Dukore 39). Yet a close examination of this crucial scene and the subsequent Requiem reveals a far greater degree of ambiguity than has been acknowledged.
Though Willy has obviously contemplated suicide for a long time, he only makes his final, irrevocable decision after the play has reached its undoubted emotional climax, Biff's dramatic declaration to his father: “Pop, I'm nothing! I'm nothing, Pop. Can't you understand that? There's no spite in it anymore. I'm just what I am, that's all.” Following this outburst, Biff physically collapses in his father's arms, and Miller carefully comments in his stage direction: “Biff's fury has spent itself, and he breaks down, sobbing, holding on to Willy, who dumbly fumbles for Biff's...
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SOURCE: Martin, Robert A. “The Nature of Tragedy in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.” South Atlantic Review 61, no. 4 (fall 1996): 97-106.
[In the following essay, Martin explores the elements of classical tragedy in Death of a Salesman, arguing that Willy Loman becomes a tragic figure through “his desire and willingness ‘to secure one thing—his sense of personal dignity.’”]
What the performance of a play gives an audience is less a set of ideas, propositions, or abstractions about life and how to live it than what Arthur Miller has called a “felt experience,” the imaginative sharing and participation in the lives and actions of imaginary characters. The performance is mythic; our sensibilities are enlivened by imaginary characters and we become engaged in their conflicts. Our thoughts and emotions are never so detached from theirs that we can remain “objective” in our feelings for them and in our judgments of them. If the play touches our humanity, we weep, or we smile; their movements move us, and our thoughts about them are kindled by our feelings toward them. Thus, we are most completely engaged in the play, as in any performing art, as it is being performed within a particular space and time. So it may seem, to a degree, presumptuous or meretricious to discuss those ideas of a play, of which the play touches on, without both the writer and reader having...
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SOURCE: Ardolino, Frank. “Miller's Poetic Use of Demotic English in Death of a Salesman.” Studies in American Jewish Literature 17 (1998): 120-28.
[In the following essay, Ardolino examines Miller's use of “demotic” language in Death of a Salesman and asserts that Miller heightens the tragic elements of the play “by exploiting the sounds and multiple meanings of simple verbal, visual, and numerical images.”]
The level of language of Death of a Salesman has long been a subject of critical discussion. Perhaps because Arthur Miller compared his work to ancient Greek tragedy in which poetic or elevated language was a requirement, early critics responded negatively to Miller's demotic English. T. C. Worsley wrote that the play fails in its “attempt to make a poetic approach to everyday life without using poetry …” (225). Similarly, John Gassner noted that the play “is well written but is not sustained by incandescent or memorable language …” (232). However, later critics have pointed out that Miller does make use of poetic devices. Arthur K. Oberg commented on his patterned speech, striking images, and artful cliches (73, 74, 77), while Marianne Boruch discussed his use of objects as metaphors. Finally, Lois Gordon described the entire play as a “narrative poem whose overall purpose can be understood only by consideration of its poetic as well as narrative...
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SOURCE: Witt, Jonathan. “Song of the Unsung Antihero: How Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Flatters Us.” Literature & Theology 12, no. 2 (June 1998): 205-16.
[In the following essay, Witt investigates the emotional effect that the character of Willy Loman has on theatergoers of Death of a Salesman, noting that Loman's conflicting obscurity and fame make him appealing to a wide range of audiences.]
Many nineteenth and twentieth century writers seek to convey the experience of a lowly character chafing against his obscurity. But how can an author convey such an experience when the very attention of a readership confers upon the character social significance and dignity, even fame? Exactly how obscure can Jude be when he has a four hundred page novel written about him, and written by Thomas Hardy no less? This is a problem I call the audience's paradox, a special form of the observer's paradox. In essence, the audience's paradox is the tension created when a lowly character, chafing against his obscurity, serves as the protagonist of a work of literature and so becomes the centre of the audience's attention, becomes famous.
The paradox is endemic only to post-Enlightenment tragic literature. Pride stands as a pivotal human imperfection in both the Ancient Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions; in contrast, the metaphysics of a debased form of romanticism valorizes...
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SOURCE: Kolin, Philip C., and others. “Death of a Salesman: A Playwrights' Forum.” Michigan Quarterly Review 37, no. 4 (fall 1998): 591-623.
[In the following essay, part of a special issue devoted to Arthur Miller, Kolin gathers reappraisals and interpretations of Death of a Salesman from several prestigious playwrights—including Edward Albee, Neil Simon, and Lanford Wilson, among others—on the occasion of the play's fiftieth anniversary.]
Ever since it premiered on Broadway on 10 February 1949, Death of a Salesman has been an indispensable script in the modern theater. Louis Kronenberger described the heightened anticipation New Yorkers felt when the play opened after its tryouts in Philadelphia:
Whoever you met that had caught the show out of town had clearly seen a masterpiece already, and behaved a little as if he had seen a ghost. Few things in Broadway history can have had so sensational a build-up: fewer still—which is far more wonderful—have been so breathlessly received when they arrived.1
Running for 742 Broadway performances, Salesman entered the canon of American theater with glory. Eugene O'Neill gave the play his imprimatur: “Miller's bolder than I have been … I'm not so sure he hasn't written a great American play.”2 Brooks Atkinson proclaimed in the...
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SOURCE: Murphy, Brenda. “Willy Loman: Icon of Business Culture.” Michigan Quarterly Review 37, no. 4 (fall 1998): 755-66.
[In the following essay, Murphy examines the cultural impact of Death of a Salesman, focusing on the effect the play has had on the public's perception of salesmen.]
In 1963, critic and director Esther Merle Jackson wrote a perceptive essay entitled “Death of a Salesman: Tragic Myth in the Modern Theatre,” in which she argued that [Death of a Salesman] is “the most nearly mature myth about human suffering in an industrial age.” In Salesman, she suggested, Arthur Miller “has formulated a statement about the nature of human crises in the twentieth century which seems, increasingly, to be applicable to the entire fabric of civilized experience.” For Jackson, the unique power of this play, as opposed to other significant twentieth-century tragedies, lies in “the critical relationship of its central symbol—the Salesman—to the interpretation of the whole of contemporary life”:
In this image, Miller brings into the theatre a figure who is, in our age, a kind of hero—a ritual representative of an industrial society. It is its intimate association with our aspirations which gives to the story of Loman an ambiguous, but highly affecting, substratum of religious, philosophical, political, and social...
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SOURCE: Murphy, Brenda. “‘Personality Wins the Day’: Death of a Salesman and Popular Sales Advice Literature.” South Atlantic Review 64, no. 1 (1999): 1-10.
[In the following essay, Murphy argues that Death of a Salesman constructs “a history of the career of the traveling salesman in America.”]
One of the primary characteristics of Willy Loman's character is his penchant for self-contradiction: “Biff is a lazy bum! … There's one thing about Biff—he's not lazy” (16). One area where this is evident is Willy's attitude toward business and success. As he tells his boss Howard Wagner, he is aware that in 1948, the “real time” of the play's action, business is “all cut and dried, and there's no chance for bringing friendship to bear—or personality” (81), but he still longs for the days when “there was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it” (81). As Brian Dennehy's performance in the 1999 production of Death of a Salesman reminds his audience, Willy is a “born” salesman. In the scene between Willy and Howard, he nearly sells Howard on the myth of Dave Singleman before he sabotages his sales pitch by losing his temper. Willy Loman is a very confused man, but his confusion about what it means to be a salesman and what it takes to succeed at the job is as much cultural as personal. In the character of Willy Loman, Arthur Miller has established a...
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SOURCE: Otten, Terry. “Death of a Salesman at Fifty—Still ‘Coming Home to Roost.’” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 41, no. 3 (fall 1999): 280-310.
[In the following essay, Otten addresses the critical debate surrounding the categorization of Death of a Salesman as a tragedy, commenting that “the play completes the tragic pattern of the past becoming the present, and it affirms the tragic dictum that there are inevitable consequences to choices.”]
“Tragedy,” Eric Bentley has warned, can “easily lure us into talking non-sense” (Playwright, 128). If so, Death of a Salesman surely doubles the risk. For likely no modern drama has generated more such talk than Miller's classic American play. After only two decades of strenuous debate seemed to have exhausted the subject, critics began to complain about “the pointless academic quibbles” about whether or not Death of a Salesman is a “true” tragedy (Weales, American Drama, 3). Such topics, wrote Lois Gordon in 1969, “have been explored ad nauseum” (98). Yet thirty years later and a half-century after the play's premiere, the question of its fitness as a tragedy continues to be a central critical concern.
Of course, Miller himself provided much of the impetus for the critical battles by writing his controversial 1949 essay on “Tragedy and the Common Man” in...
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SOURCE: Ribkoff, Fred. “Shame, Guilt, Empathy, and the Search for Identity in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.” Modern Drama 43, no. 1 (spring 2000): 48-55.
[In the following essay, Ribkoff considers the roles of guilt, empathy, shame, and self-identity in Death of a Salesman.]
Among other things, tragedy dramatizes identity crises. At the root of such crises lie feelings of shame. You might ask: what about guilt? There is no question that guilt plays a major role in tragedy, but tragedy also dramatizes the way in which feelings of shame shape an individual's sense of identity, and thus propel him or her into wrongdoing and guilt. In fact, Bernard Williams examines the relation and distinction between shame and guilt in his study of ancient Greek tragedy and ethics, Shame and Necessity. He “claim[s] that if we can come to understand the ethical concepts of the Greeks, we shall recognise them in ourselves.”1 In the process of establishing a kinship between the Greeks and ourselves, Williams provides an excellent foundation upon which to build an argument on the dynamics of shame, guilt, empathy, and the search for identity in Arthur Miller's modern tragedy Death of a Salesman. Williams states that
We can feel both guilt and shame towards the same action. In a moment of cowardice, we let someone down; we feel guilty because we...
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SOURCE: Thompson, Terry W. “Miller's Death of a Salesman.” Explicator 60, no. 3 (spring 2002): 162-63.
[In the following essay, Thompson explores the comparisons between Willy Loman's sons and the mythological figure of Adonis in Death of a Salesman.]
Early in Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller's most celebrated play, Willy Loman—the financially burdened and emotionally exhausted main character—makes a fleeting reference to a mythological figure who was renowned for his physical beauty. Pronounced during an effusive conversation with his sons, it is an allusion that Willy believes is completely flattering to his two beloved boys, Biff and Happy. However, the reference signifies much more than Willy thinks it does. Like the aging and unenlightened salesman himself, the comparison is superficial and uninformed, tellingly shallow and rather ignorant.
The mythological allusion comes midway through the first act, during one of Willy's rose-tinted recollections of the family's past, when his sons were young and all things were possible. Willy proclaims to the wide-eyed Biff and Happy, “Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y'understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. That's why I thank Almighty God you're both built like Adonises” (Miller 33). In these lines, Willy not only shows his...
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SOURCE: Ardolino, Frank. “‘I'm Not a Dime a Dozen! I am Willy Loman!’: The Significance of Names and Numbers in Death of a Salesman.” Journal of Evolutionary Psychology (August 2002): 174-84.
[In the following essay, Ardolino evaluates the role that repeated patterns of letters, names, and numbers play in Death of a Salesman, arguing that Miller uses these patterns to “create an expressionistic juxtaposition of the past and present and desire and guilt in Willy's disordered mind.”]
In Death of a Salesman, Miller's poetic use of demotic English, the level of language which characters speak and which describes their actions and environment, creates the play's tragic dimension.1 To achieve the depths of tragedy, Miller expands the ordinarily limited expressive capabilities of demotic English by exploiting the sounds and multiple meanings of simple verbal, visual, and numerical images. Miller's system of onomastic and numerical images and echoes forms a complex network which delineates Willy's insanity and its effects on his family and job.
Much of the play takes place in a psychological construct which Willy creates. An Eden-like paradise which lies at the center of his neurosis, it is characterized by the paradoxical union of reality and his delusory fulfillment of his grandiose dreams of omnipotence. Willy's paradise, which he identifies with...
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Lahr, John. “Fugitive Mind.” New Yorker 75, no. 2 (8 March 1999): 93.
Lahr commends the fiftieth-anniversary production of Death of a Salesman, noting that “Miller's reading of the nation's collective unconscious is so accurate that the flaws in this somewhat overpraised production hardly matter.”
Meador, Roy. “The Elegy for Willy Loman Lives On.” Biblio 4, no. 3 (March 1999): 16-17.
Meader argues that Miller's portrayal of capitalist disillusionment in Death of a Salesman has become a prominent part of American social consciousness.
Miller, Arthur, and Colby H. Kullman. “Death of a Salesman at Fifty: An Interview with Arthur Miller.” Michigan Quarterly Review 37, no. 4 (fall 1998): 624-34.
Miller discusses different productions of Death of a Salesman and reflects on the play on the fiftieth anniversary of its first production.
Monet, Cristina. “Smiles and Shoeshines.” Spectator 283, no. 8923 (14 August 1999): 38.
Monet compares the fiftieth-anniversary production of Death of a Salesman to recent revivals of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.
Murphy, Brenda. Miller: “Death of a Salesman.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, 246 p.
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