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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Petra Kalkofen

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller's Childhood
Arthur Miller was the middle child. His parents were Polish Jewish immigrants.
Growing up he was quite rich and his parents were very wealthy owning a woman's clothing manufacturing business.
However in 1929 Wall Street Crashed and his family lost everything. At the time Miller was only 14 years old.
He worked many part time jobs to save up money to eventually continue his higher education by going to college.
He was admitted into the University of Michigan where he majored in Journalism and worked as a reporter and night editor for the student paper.
born October 17, 1915 in Harlem, New York City.
He died February 10, 2005 in Roxbury, Connecticut. He lived to be 89 years old

The Author:
Arthur Miller

Mr. Rowe was a very famous influential teacher for play writers some of his other famous students include
Josh Greenfeld, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert McKee,
and
Betty Smith
as well as others.
Mr. Rowe as well as Mr. Miller became life long friends and remained close until the end.

Kenneth Thorpe Rowe
During his time working for the student newspaper at this University he wrote his first play
No Villain.
That received the Avery Hopwood Award. Miller then decided to change his major to English.
He then took a play writing class by the famous
Kenneth Thorpe Rowe.
University of Michigan
Miller's Career
Miller has written may works although he has four works that are most popular
Death of a Salesman
The Crucible
A View from the Bridge
All My Sons

Other Important people in Millers Life
Mary Slattery
: Miller's first wife. They had two children together Jane and Robert which are the two children in the picture.
They were married together for 16 years before separating.
Mary Slattery
The most famous of his wives.
Monroe
was only married to Miller for 5 years.
One of Millers later plays is written about their relationship called
After the Fall
Marilyn Monroe
Inge Morath was Arthur Miller's third and last wife.
Inge Morath was a photographer.
Staying married until her death in 2002 they had two children together Rebecca and Daniel
Inge Morath
Was written and premiered in 1949.
Running for 742 performances on Broadway.
Death Of A Salesman
Thank you
Characters
Willy Loman
Biff Loman
Happy Loman
Linda Loman
Charley and Bernard
Ben
Howard
Themes
Success through the American Dream
-
Willy unquestioningly believes that being "well-liked" will earn him success. He spends his whole life trying to achieve the American dream but never realizes that it simply takes hard work to achieve the American Dream.
Perception of Reality vs. Reality
-
His whole life Willy ignores reality to upkeep his beliefs. As the pressure of reality weighs down on Willy's lies about his self image, Willy becomes mentally ill. This ultimately leads to his suicide.
Symbols
Rubber Hose
- Willy's attempts of suicide
Stockings
- Willy's sexual infidelity
Linda's Mended Stockings
- Willy's frustration with his inability to provide for his family
Diamonds
- Willy's tangible hope of success
Seeds
- Willy's last attempt to provide for his wife and sons
Discussion Questions
1. Based on information from the other characters in the play, how accurate do you think Willy's flashbacks are? Was the Lomans' past as exaggerated in Willy's flashbacks like their present life is (like Happy claiming to be assistant manager and Willy claiming to be known in many states)?

2. Why does Willy reject Charley's job offer?

3. Why is Willy so dedicated to success through the American Dream? And why is he so sure that being "well-liked" is the way to achieve it?
Willy Loman
Protagonist
Believes being "well-liked" earns success
Delusions of his success
Failing mental health as he slowly realizes being well-liked "doesn't sell"
Biff Loman
Oldest son of Willy Loman
Leads a charmed youth until he fails to graduate
Fails to live up to his father's expectations
Contrary to Willy's beliefs, Biff slowly realizes he's "a dime a dozen"
Represents Willy's tragic side
Happy Loman
Second son of Willy
Lives in shadow of Biff throughout high school
Attempts to make up for his shortcomings by living up to Willy's expectations and sleeping with many women
Represents Willy's unrealistic and relentless hope for success in the American dream
Linda Loman
Loves and supports her husband, Willy, all her life
Voice of reason but still gets excited for Willy's unrealistic dreams out of love
Disowns her own sons in order to try and save Willy's life
Charley and Bernard
Father and Son neighbors of Willy Loman
Foil of Willy's mode to success
Represent the true mode to success - hard work and discipline
Ben
Deceased older brother of Willy
Appears in Willy's daydreams
Repetitively reminds Willy how Ben was successful in achieving the American Dream
Howard
Willy's present boss and son of Willy's past boss
Treats Willy condescendingly because Willy ranks lower than him in the business world
Represents reality in contrast to what Willy says about himself at home
Full transcript