Death Of A Salesman

Paperback | October 28, 1976

byArthur Miller

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman’s deferred American dream
Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity—and a play that compresses epic extremes of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room.

"By common consent, this is one of the finest dramas in the whole range of the American theater." —Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

"So simple, central, and terrible that the run of playwrights would neither care nor dare to attempt it." —Time

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From Our Editors

Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama was first performed in 1949, at a time when a post-war economic boom elated the spirits of Americans all over. As if to spike the punch, Death of a Salesman told of the problems underlining the "dream" by constructing Willy Loman, the most tragic of heroes. A failing, aging salesman, Willy makes his living on a smile and some shoeshine in an unabashed p...

From the Publisher

The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman’s deferred American dream Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably ...

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 (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1963), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972) and The American Clock. He has also written two novels, Focus (1...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 7.5 × 5 × 0.2 inPublished:October 28, 1976Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140481346

ISBN - 13:9780140481341

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Death Of A Salesman and Me For a long long time I had a shortlist of books my eyes have always wanted to devour. And towards the top of that list was Death of a Salesman. The play by Arthur Miller premiered in 1949 and became an immediate sensation, winning a Pulitzer and a Tony. It has been revived multiple times all over, adapted into movies, and staged as live television. Quite often done by big name stars of great caliber. Critics have hailed it as a masterpiece and a play that transformed theatre. With this really impressive resume behind Death of a Salesman, my want to finally read this classic became a goal this 2015. And the result for me was a large meh. Unfortunately. Death of a Salesman tells the tale of one Willy Loman. He is an older man, beaten down by life and hating it all. His wife is devoted but his two grown sons are going nowhere very quickly and back to living at home. Even the slight saving grace of having the mortgage almost paid off barely quells Willy. The man hates his long time sales job and how things have not been going well for awhile now. He continuously hallucinates, much to his family’s dismay, of the greater time when the boys were younger and everything felt perfect. Willy keeps wondering when it all went wrong, why others are more successful, and how to fix, to his mind, his ungrateful kids. Make them launch into the world and do things Papa can be proud of. But of course things just keep going wrong. And wrong some more. So with a spoiler for 1949, yes Willy Loman does die in the end. I had many problems with Death of a Salesman that made it difficult for me to even finish. The almost unrelenting despair of what seems like every main character having just a terrible terrible life weighs down the story and makes you wonder why nothing goes right for any member of the Loman clan at all. I know drama requires conflict and pain not sunshine and rainbows, but Miller just makes dire his only colour. Even the shocking revelation at the end just adds to the pain, but hardly explains one characters actions. Nor was the reveal that surprising either. My other issue with this play is the flashback/hallucinations that Willy gleefully enters into. On stage I am sure they are almost always masterfully performed and flow wonderfully to make the dramatic points, but in reading it mostly becomes a bit of narrative mush. Those scenes were tiresome to read and I very quickly got the point. Willy really wants to turn back the clock because everything sucks. My sense of history knows that at the time Death of a Salesman was very shocking and groundbreaking on multiple levels, mostly I believe because of the depressing everyman hopelessness it starkly portrayed. That aspect is appreciated by me, and if did smash barriers, than I applaud it. Noble accomplishments aside, for me Death of a Salesman, one of my long awaited reads, just trudged along to a whatever ending.
Date published: 2015-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Chasing the American Dream I read this for my English summer school class and I really enjoyed the play! The time period that the book takes place in is around the late 1940s/ early 1950s and focuses on Willy Loman, a traveling salesman who is now in his sixties in a career that is going nowhere. All his life, he has believed in the American Dream and that one day he could succeed in achieving it, but he refuses to believe that it's just not going to happen. He still believes he can be successful even though he has a dysfunctional family he can barely provide for and is forced to borrow money from his only friend. His outlook on life and in business is that people become successful by being well-liked (appearances) and that no one cared if you were smart or skilled. It's a lesson that he instilled in his children and now they're all paying the price by leading unfilled lives. In particular, Willy can't understand why his favoured son Biff isn't successful in life as he thought his son would achieve greatness. The play redefines the definition of the tragic hero as the play switches from the present to the past, where Willy tries to find where it all went wrong.
Date published: 2009-07-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A tragedy of a low man Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller was written in 1949 and changed what tragedy meant. Instead of the usual fall of a man in a high position, it was about Willy Loman, a small man. The play is centered on conversation that is mostly dull. The most interesting part of it is seeing the wrong beliefs of Willy that he instils in his two boys, Biff and Happy, which greatly affect their lives in the future. Willy's interpretation of manliness and the American Dream are also the features that make this play great. Willy Loman, 60, has been working as a salesman for many years. The company that he has been working for has taken him off a salary and placed him on commission. He hasn’t been able to sell anything and is resorting to borrowing money from his only friend. His two children, Biff and Happy, are unable to help Willy pay for his mortgage and expenses. Willy feels that it his duty to provide for his family, and being unable to do so lowers his manliness. What has happened to Biff and Happy that has made them as they are as adults? How will Willy, who is seeing hallucinations, react to his loss of manliness? How did growing up without a father or brother affect Willy? What are Willy’s motives for what he does? Does Willy’s belief in success as a result of being well-liked work? What dreams do the two brothers choose to follow in the end? What does ‘free’ mean in the ending? 3/5
Date published: 2009-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great American Tragedy This play revolves around the lives of Willy Loman, who is an aging salesman, his wife Linda, and his two sons, Biff & Happy. Arthur Miller's story grips the reader and puts forth many ideas about modern society's moral decline. It is an interesting read, and is still today's Great American Tragedy.
Date published: 2001-01-19