In the stage directions, what does Arthur Miller tell us will be the functions of lighting in the play?Death of a Salesman

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miller’s opening stage directions to ‘Death of a Salesman’ are very detailed. The lighting is used to emphasise the hemmed in nature of the Loman’s house, and the colors suggest an air of harsh reality – perhaps over-reality – in their distinct contrast-

Only the blue light of the sky falls on the house and forestage; the surrounding area shows an angry glow of orange.

 Willy Loman has a lot of anger, as does Linda, although her frustrations are crushingly repressed.

The opening scene uses increased illumination which then highlights the development which has grown around the Loman house. This again enhances the apparent pressure on the occupants who are squeezed by the ‘solid vault of apartment houses’.

The lighting, along with the sound, helps to convey the move between reality and flashback or dream sequence to remind us of the past and its influence on Willy’s failing grasp on the present-


An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream rising out of reality.

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Death of a Salesman

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