Death Of A Salesman PDF
About Author : “Arthur Miller”
Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons (1947), Death of a salesman PDF (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1964), Incident at Vichy (1965), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), and The American Clock (1980). He has also written two novels, Focus (1945) and The Misfits, which was filmed in 1960, and the text for In Russia (1969), Chinese Encounters (1979), and In the Country (1977), three books of photographs by Inge Morath.
His most recent works include a memoir, Mr. Peters’ Connections (1999), Echoes Down the Corridor: Collected Essays 1944–2000, and On Politics and the Art of Acting (2001). Timebends (1987), and the plays The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1994). He has twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Gerald Weales is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Religion in Modern English Drama, American Drama Since World War II, The Play and Its Parts, Tennessee Williams, The Jumping-Off Place, Clifford Odets, and Canned Goods as Caviar: American Film Comedy of the 1930s. Mr. Weales is the editor of Edwardian Plays, The Complete Plays of William Wycherley, and The Viking Critical Library edition of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. He has written a novel, Tale for the Bluebird, and two books for children. Mr. Weales won the George Jean Nathan Award for Drama Criticism in 1965.
The Depression of the 1930s seemed to break the promises America had made its citizens. The stock market crash of 1929, it was assumed, ended a particular version of history: optimistic, confident. The American dream faded. And yet, not so. Myths as potent as that, illusions with such a purchase on the national psyche, are not so easily denied.
In an immigrant society, which has, by definition, chosen to reject the past, faith in the future is not a matter of choice. When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing. Arthur Miller knew this. When Charley, Willy Loman’s next-door neighbor, says that ‘‘a salesman has got to dream,’’ he sums up not only Willy’s life but a central tenet of his culture.
Death of a salesman PDF is not set during the Depression but it bears its mark, as does Willy Loman, a sixty-three-year- old salesman, who stands baffled by his failure. Certainly in memory he returns to that period, as if personal and national fate were somehow intertwined, while in spirit, according to Miller, he also reaches back to the more expansive and confident, if empty, 1920s, when, according to a president of the United States, the business of America was business.
And since he inhabits ‘‘the greatest country in the world,’’ a world of Manifest Destiny, where can the fault lie but in himself? If personal meaning, in this cheerleader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself. No wonder Willy shouts out his name. He is listening for an echo. No wonder he searches desperately back through his life for evidence of the moment he took a wrong path; no wonder he looks to the next generation to give him back that life by achieving what had slipped so unaccountably through his own fingers.
Death of a salesman PDF had its origins in a short story Miller wrote at the age of seventeen (approximately the age of the young Biff Loman), when he worked, briefly, for his father’s company. It told of an aging salesman who sells nothing, is abused by the buyers, and borrows his subway fare from the young narrator. In a note scrawled on the manuscript Miller records that the real salesman had thrown himself under a subway train.
Years later, at the time of the play’s Broadway opening, Miller’s mother found the story abandoned in a drawer. But, as Miller has noted, Death of a salesman PDF also traced its roots closer to home. Willy Loman was kin to Miller’s salesman uncle, Manny Newman, a man who was ‘‘a competitor, at all times, in all things, and at every moment. My brother and I,’’ Miller explains in his autobiography, ‘‘he saw running neck and neck with his two sons in some race that never stopped in his mind.’’
The Newman household was one in which you ‘‘dared not lose hope, and I would later think of it as a perfection of America for that reason. . . . It was a house . . . trembling with resolutions and shouts of victories that had not yet taken place but surely would tomorrow.’’2 Manny’s son, Buddy, like Biff in Miller’s play, was a sports hero and, like Happy Loman, a success with the girls, but, failing to study, he never made it to college.
Manny’s wife, meanwhile, ‘‘bore the cross of reality for them all,’’ supporting her husband, ‘‘keeping up her calm, enthusiastic smile lest he feel he was not being appreciated.’’ (123) It is not hard to see this woman honored in the person of Linda Loman, Willy’s loyal but sometimes bewildered wife, who is no less a victim than the husband she supports in his struggle for meaning and absolution.
Though Miller spent little time with Manny, ‘‘he was so absurd, so completely isolated from the ordinary laws of gravity, so elaborate in his fantastic inventions . . . so lyrically in love with fame and fortune and their inevitable descent on his family, that he possessed my imagination.’’ (123) To drop by the Newman family home, Miller explains, was ‘‘to expect some kind of insinuation of my entire life’s probable failure, even before I was sixteen.’’ (124) Bernard, son of Willy’s next-door neighbor, was to find himself treated in much the same way by the Lomans.
There is, however, something more than absurdity about such people as Manny, who managed to sustain their faith in the face of evidence to the contrary. Of a salesman friend of Manny, Miller writes, ‘‘Like any traveling man he had to my mind a kind of intrepid valor that withstood the inevitable putdowns, the scoreless attempts to sell. In a sense, these men lived like artists, like actors whose product is first of all themselves, forever imagining triumphs in a world that either ignores them or denies their presence altogether.
But just often enough to keep the game going one of them makes it and swings to the moon on a thread of dreams unwinding out of himself.’’ (127) And, surely, Willy Loman himself is just such an actor, a vaudevillian, getting by ‘‘on a smile and a shoeshine,’’ staging his life in an attempt to understand its plot and looking for the applause and success he believes to be his due. He wants, beyond anything, to be ‘‘well liked,’’ for, without that, he fears he will be nothing at all.
During the run of his first great success, All My Sons, Miller met Manny again. Rather than comment on the play, his uncle answered a question he had not been asked: ‘‘Buddy is doing very well.’’ The undeclared competition was still under way, as if time had stood still. The chance meeting made Miller long to write a play that would recreate the feeling that this encounter gave him, a play that would ‘‘cut through time like a knife through a layer of cake or a road through a mountain revealing its geologic layers, and instead of one incident in one time-frame succeeding another, display past and present concurrently, with neither one ever coming to a stop.’’
For in that one remark Manny brought together past hopes and present realities while betraying an anxiety that hinted at a countercurrent to his apparent confidence. Miller, then, likened the structure of Salesman to geological strata, in which different times are present in the same instant. He has also compared it to a CAT scan, which simultaneously reveals inside and outside, and the time scale in Death of a salesman PDF is, indeed, complex.
The events onstage take place over twenty-four hours, a period which begins with a timid, dispirited, and bewildered man entering a house once an expression of his hopes for the future. It is where he and his wife raised a family, that icon of the American way, and reached for the golden glitter of the dream. He is back from a journey he once saw as a version of those other journeys embedded in the national consciousness, in which the individual went forth to improve his lot and define himself in the face of a world ready to embrace him.
But the world has changed. His idyllic house, set like a homestead against the natural world, is now hemmed in by others, and his epic journey is no more than a drummer’s daily grind, traveling from store to store, ingratiating himself with buyers or, still more, with the secretaries who guard the buyers from him. The play ends, after a succession of further humiliations, frustrated hopes, and demeaning memories, when Willy Loman climbs back into the car, which itself is showing signs of debilitation, and attempts one last ride to glory, one last journey into the empyrean, finally, in his own eyes, rivaling his successful brother, Ben, by trading his life directly for the dream which lured him on.
Death of a salesman PDF differs radically from his more traditionally constructed first Broadway success, All My Sons, while still focusing on father-son relationships. It is technically innovative, with its nearly instantaneous time shifts. It is also lyrical, as Miller allows Willy’s dreams to shape themselves into broken arias. And whereas the earlier work had echoes of Ibsen, this play was generated out of its own necessities as Miller discovered a form that precisely echoed its social and psychological concerns.
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