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Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller
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Who is Dave Singleman in Death of a Salesman?

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To some extent, the title of the play refers not just to the death of Willy Loman but to the death of a particular breed of salesman. Back in the day, Dave Singleman was a legendary figure, working right up until the age of eighty-four. Willy, clearly inspired by Singleman,...

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To some extent, the title of the play refers not just to the death of Willy Loman but to the death of a particular breed of salesman. Back in the day, Dave Singleman was a legendary figure, working right up until the age of eighty-four. Willy, clearly inspired by Singleman, draws on his heroic example in trying to convince his boss to keep him on. At the age of sixty-three, Willy is a spring chicken by comparison to Singleman, and he is certain that he has plenty of salesmanship still left in him.

But the sad facts are that times have changed and that salesmanship is now a young man's game. There's just no place for the likes of Willy Loman. The same would've applied to Dave Singleman if he'd still been alive. Apart from his great age, he would've been hampered by his lack of success. Although Willy presents him as this almost mythical figure, you have to ask yourself a question: if someone were really successful in life, would they still be working as a traveling salesman well into their eighties?

Even if Singleman really was the hotshot salesman of legend, then the chances are that he, too, would struggle just as much as Willy in the world of modern salesmanship. It's a jungle out there, and those who cannot compete, like Willy Loman and Dave Singleton, are pretty much dead.

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