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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman was written in the 1940s, and it showed that Americans after the war were questioning certain values they had long held dear and were asking whether the new world in which they found themselves would be as optimistic as the old one. The play presents a sort of Everyman in Willy Loman, the salesman who has lived his whole life on the road and who has survived largely by creating an illusion of himself not unlike the wider illusion by which Americans viewed themselves as superior in the world. Now he is faced with the loss of his illusion as he is no longer needed, and this forces him to reassess his life. The play reflects many American's concerns about the Twentieth Century and their place in it, and most of these are concerns that are still cogent today.

Linda Loman states that "attention must be paid" to the life of her husband, an undistinguished salesman who was unfaithful to his wife, not a very good father to his children, and unsuccessful in his work. Yet, as Linda Loman notes, attention must be paid to this man. It is the thrust of this entire play that Willy Loman that attention must be paid precisely because Willy Loman is an undistinguished salesman. His life is a mirror of the lives of millions of other people, people who are ignored by life but who are human beings just the same. Miller speaks here for the average man who tries his best to make a living and raise a family. All Willy wants is recognition, from his family, his boss, the world. He has been chasing the American dream without success, and he has been blinded to the real value in his life by that dream. His tragedy is that he creates his own hell by the way he has conducted his life, treated his family, and done his job, all in a quest for a certain definition of success while ignoring the real values around him. If attention must be paid to Willy Loman, it is because there are millions of other Willy Lomans, r...

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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:03, August 03, 2020, from