Fall 2014: English 1020
December 1, 2014
Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman is a play written in 1949 by Arthur Miller with themes including living the
“American Dream”, abandonment, and betrayal. Miller uses symbolism, imagery, irony, and
metaphors to successfully capture the audience’s attention.
In Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller sets out to create what he calls a “Tragedy of the Common
Man” (Miller 1906). The play is a drama based on a middle-class family and ultimately ends in tragedy.
Set in New York and Boston. Miller portrays Willy Loman as the main character with the obsession of
living the American dream which in his mind to achieve this you have to be “well liked” and have a good
personality. The philosophy of the American Dream is thought of by many as success only being related
to money, status, rank, or fame, a goal many desire. In reality success in America is with hard work and
diligence. Willy strives for his version of the “American Dream”, money, success and notoriety but he is
misguided and ironically his dream leads to tragedy rather than the success he desperately desires.
Arthur Asher Miller was born in New York in 1915 to middle-class Jewish parents. His mother
was a teacher and introduced her son to theater and art. His father was a successful clothing
manufacturer of women’s coats until he lost his fortune during the great depression after the stock
market crashed in 1929 (booknotes). Miller graduated from the University of Michigan where he learned
to write plays. After experiencing the Depression and World War ll those times help to shape the
writings of Miller which include writings concerning social injustice. After the great depression Miller
was convinced all that could save us was harsh reason and socialism (Tuttleton para, 6).
Death of a Salesman won Miller a Tony Award as well as a Pulitzer Prize establishing him as one
of the most successful American...