Is the American dream attainable? What makes someone a successful person? How does your image of yourself shape your life? Arthur Miller’s play is a tragic but true-to-life illustration of these philosophical questions without definitive answers. This Death of a Salesman Study Guide will help you understand the author’s intention and the complicated relationships between the characters.
Death of a Salesman Key Facts
|Death of a Salesman
|Tragedy, stage play
|Date of Premiere
|10 February 1949
|Willy Loman’s house in Brooklyn; Manhattan and Boston
Death of a Salesman Articles
Looking for a summary of Death of a Salesman? You will find it here! This article contains everything you might need: a plot infographic, a short summary, and a detailed description of the play’s events, act by act.
This article contains everything about Death of a Salesman characters: Willy Loman, Biff Loman, Happy Loman, Linda Loman, the Woman, and others. Additionally, in the first section, you’ll find a Death of a Salesman character map.
The article explains the key themes in Death of a Salesman. The American dream, family, betrayal, and abandonment are the core issues represented in the play by Arthur Miller.
Like any other literary work, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman contains various stylistic devices to discuss, symbols to interpret, and motifs to find. That is what this article is about!
The article is for you if you are looking for a fresh essay topic on Death of a Salesman and want to have plenty of options to choose from. It contains a list of ideas that will definitely help you write a great essay.
Historical Context of Death of a Salesman
Ten years before the play’s events, the Great Depression ended (1929 – 1939.) During that time, the stock market crashed. The US economy plummeted worse than ever before. Thousands of companies, banks, and ordinary people lost everything. Their lives and confidence in the future were ruined.
The play was premiered in 1949, just several years after the end of WWII. The war kick-started the limping economy through massive production of mechanized weapons and new transport. Advancements in medicine and communication technologies also helped the world economy recover. When the war ended, factories switched to producing domestic appliances. Washing machines, refrigerators, and personal cars became affordable for most households. This rush for material goods spurred public optimism about the American dream. The idea was that if you work hard, you will have all those things that make your life easier. Just like that, you and your family will be happy. But the play shows that things are not that simple.
It’s important to analyze Death of a Salesman in the context of these historical events. Arthur Miller‘s play shows the aftermath of the Great Depression and WWII for an ordinary person. It shows that a lifelong career doesn’t secure any financial benefits or emotional stability for an individual. Besides, the ideals and modes of living are constantly changing. Willy Loman fails to adapt to the new world or find his place in it. He follows his father’s ideals that held true decades ago but refuses to admit that they have become obsolete. Ultimately, Willy Loman and his family fall victims to the impossible quest for an outdated idea of the American Dream.