Arthur Miller is one of the most renowned and important American playwrights to ever live. The plays he has written have been criticized for many things, but have been praised for much more, including his magical development of the characters and how his plays provide "good theater". In his plays, Miller rarely says anything about his home life, but there are at least some autobiographical "hints" in his plays. Arthur Miller is most noted for his continuing efforts to devise suitable new ways to express new and different themes. His play Death of a Salesman, a modern tragedy, follows along these lines. The themes in this play are described and unfurled mostly through the main character in the play, Willy Loman's, thoughts and experiences. The story takes place mainly in Brooklyn, New York, and it also has some "flashback" scenes occurring in a hotel room in Boston. Willy lives with his wife Linda and their two sons, Biff and Happy in a small house, crowded and boxed in by large apartment buildings. The three most important parts of Death of a Salesman are the characters and how they develop throughout the play; the conflicts, with the most important ones revolving around Willy; and the masterful use of symbolism and other literary techniques which lead into the themes that Miller is trying to reveal.
The Depression of the early-mid 1900's still troubles Arthur Miller today, especially for the hard times that he went through as a child. His parents could not afford college for him, so the Depression affected his life in many ways. He has used the American industry many times in his works and criticizes such social aspects of American society as it's bad moral values and people who put too much importance on material wealth. Miller especially admired Henrik Ibsen, the great Norwegian master of the "well-made", or tightly constructed, ordered play. Miller was familiar with the works of Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, and Thornton Wilder.