Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
(Heinemann Plays)

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This is a play for all times - Arthur Miller certainly knew what he was on about when he wrote this script.


In the spring of 1948 Arthur Miller retreated to a log cabin in Connecticut with the first two lines of a new play already fixed in his mind. He emerged six weeks later with the final script of Death of a Salesman - a painful examination of American life and consumerism. Opening on Broadway the following year, Miller's extraordinary masterpiece changed the course of modern theatre. In creating Willy Loman, his destructively insecure anti-hero, Miller himself defined his aim as being 'to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life.'

About Arthur Miller

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The son of a well-to-do New York Jewish family, Miller graduated from high school and then went to work in a warehouse. He was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, New York City. His plays have been called "political," but he considers the areas of literature and politics to be quite separate and has said, "The only sure and valid aim---speaking of art as a weapon---is the humanizing of man." The recurring theme of all his plays is the relationship between a man's identity and the image that society demands of him. After two years, he entered the University of Michigan, where he soon started writing plays. All My Sons (1947), a Broadway success that won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1947, tells the story of a son, home from the war, who learns that his brother's death was due to defective airplane parts turned out by their profiteering father. Death of a Salesman (1949), Miller's experimental yet classical American tragedy, received both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1949. It is a poignant statement of a man facing himself and his failure. In The Crucible (1953), a play about bigotry in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, Miller brings into focus the social tragedy of a society gone mad, as well as the agony of a heroic individual. The play was generally considered to be a comment on the McCarthyism of its time. Miller himself appeared before the Congressional Un-American Activities Committee and steadfastly refused to involve his friends and associates when questioned about them. His screenplay for The Misfits (1961), from his short story, was written for his second wife, actress Marilyn Monroe (see Vol. 3); After the Fall (1964) has clear autobiographical overtones and involves the story of this ill-fated marriage as well as further dealing with Miller's experiences with McCarthyism. In the one-act Incident at Vichy (1964), a group of men are picked off the streets one morning during the Nazi occupation of France. The Price (1968) is a psychological drama concerning two brothers, one a police officer, one a wealthy surgeon, whose long-standing conflict is explored over the disposal of their father's furniture. The Creation of the World and Other Business (1973) is a retelling of the story of Genesis, attempted as a comedy. The American Clock (1980) explores the impact of the Depression on the nation and its individual citizens. Among Miller's most recent works is Danger: Memory! (1987), a study of two elderly friends. During the 1980s, almost all of Miller's plays were given major British revivals, and the playwright's work has been more popular in Britain than in the United States of late. Miller died of heart failure after a battle against cancer, pneumonia and congestive heart disease at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 89 years old.
Published May 3, 2013 by Penguin. 128 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography, Children's Books, Sports & Outdoors, Comics & Graphic Novels, Young Adult. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Death of a Salesman
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by TheBookThief on Feb 08 2012

This is a play for all times - Arthur Miller certainly knew what he was on about when he wrote this script.

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Parental Book Reviews

Above average
on May 03 2012

In my opinion it is the best short drama I have read to pass time and that I enjoyed. Miller was liberal in expressing the characters thoughts in the book by writing in words that might express more emotion than regulars so in using profanity it actually increased the impact of what he was trying to imply as the characters reactions.

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Reading World

Above average
Reviewed by Susan on Jan 19 2012

But reading it...I found the characters annoying. Except for the wife/mom. She deserved better. Anyway, I’m glad to have read the play so that I have a better understanding of this piece of Americana. Some day I hope to have a chance to see a good production of the play to see how my appreciation of it differs

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Bianca Pellet

Above average
Reviewed by Bianca Pellet on Feb 17 2014

However, intrinsically speaking, Death of a Salesman's appeal is evident. The human conditions of Willy, Biff, Happy and wife and mother Linda are easily conditions in which any modern reader may find themselves...This timelessness is the hallmark of a real classic, making it clear why Miller's plays are still so "well liked".

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