Death Of A Salesman (5216 words)
Death Of A Salesman
Arthur Miller is one of the most renowned and important American playwrights to ever live. His works include, among others, The Crucible and A View from the Bridge. The plays he has written have been criticized for many things, but have been praised for much more, including his magical development of the characters and how his plays provide ?good theater?. In his plays, Miller rarely says anything about his home life, but there are at least some autobiographical ?hints? in his plays. Arthur Miller is most noted for his continuing efforts to devise suitable new ways to express new and different themes. His play Death of a Salesman, a modern tragedy, follows along these lines. The themes in this play are described and unfurled mostly through Willy Loman's, the main character in the play, thoughts and experiences. The story takes place mainly in Brooklyn, New York, and it also has some ?flashback? scenes occurring in a hotel room in Boston. Willy lives with his wife Linda and their two sons, Biff and Happy in a small house, crowded and boxed in by large apartment buildings. The three most important parts of Death of a Salesman are the characters and how they develop throughout the play; the conflicts, with the most important ones revolving around Willy; and the masterful use of symbolism and other literary techniques which lead into the themes that Miller is trying to reveal.
Arthur Miller was born in Manhattan on October 17, 1915 to Isidore and Augusta Barnett Miller. His father was a ladies coat manufacturer. Arthur Miller went to grammar school in Harlem but then moved to Brooklyn because of his father's losses in the depression. In Brooklyn he went to James Madison and Abraham Lincoln High Schools and was an average student there, but did not get accepted to college. After high school, he worked for 2 ? years at an auto supply warehouse where he saved $13 of his $15 a week paycheck. He began to read such classics as Dostoevski and his growing knowledge led him to the University of Michigan.
While at the University of Michigan, Miller worked many jobs such as a mouse tender at the University laboratory and as a night editor at the newspaper Michigan Daily. He began to write plays at college and won 2 of the $500 Hopwood Playwriting Awards. One of the two awarded plays No Villain (1936) won the Theater's Guild Award for 1938 and the prize of $1250 encouraged him to become engaged with Mary Grace Slattery, whom he married in 1940. Miller briefly worked with the Federal Theater Project and in 1944 he traveled to Army Camps across Europe to gather material for a play he was doing. His first Broadway play, The Man Who Had All the Luck, opened in 1944. Since then he has written 13 award winning plays and more than 23 different noted books. He had two children with Mary Grace Slattery, Jane and Robert, but divorced her and in 1956 married Marilyn Monroe. He then divorced her later that decade, and, in 1962, married Ingeborg Morath and had one child with her, named Rebecca. He now lives on 400 acres of land in Connecticut and spends his time gardening, mowing, planting evergreens, and working as a carpenter. He still writes each day for four to six hours.
His father always told him to read. He once said, ?Until the age of seventeen, I can safely say that I never read a book weightier than ?Tom Swift and the Rover Boys', but my father brought me into literature with Dickens?(Nelson, Pg. 59). His father's good-natured joking was used to invent the character of Joe Keller's genial side. After the Fall (1947) is a play written by Miller where he sneaks in some small autobiographical notes. The character traits exhibited by the main woman in the play indicate his mother's early encouragement to his literary promise.
The Depression still troubles him today, especially for the hard times that he went through as a child. In an interview, he once said,
It seems easy to tell how it was to live in those years, but I have made several attempts to
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