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Death of a Salesman

139 pages, 1976

fiction

fiction

1382 books
Takeaways
Description

The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman’s deferred American dream, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging salesman driven to extremes to make his living, 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 American theater. —Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

The Illusion of the American Dream

Arthur Miller paints a vivid picture of the American Dream's illusion in Death of a Salesman. The protagonist, Willy Loman, believes that success is all about being well-liked and having personal attractiveness. However, his pursuit of this dream only leads to his downfall. This book encourages us to question our own definitions of success and happiness.

The Impact of Past on Present

In Death of a Salesman, Miller explores how our past can shape our present. Willy is haunted by his past mistakes and missed opportunities, which affect his current life. It's a reminder to not let our past control our present and future.

The Struggle of Identity

Willy Loman struggles with his identity throughout the book. He's torn between who he is and who he wants to be. This internal conflict leads to his mental and emotional breakdown. It's a call to embrace our true selves and not get lost in the pursuit of becoming someone we're not.

The Importance of Family Relationships

Family relationships play a crucial role in Death of a Salesman. The strained relationship between Willy and his sons, Biff and Happy, reflects the consequences of miscommunication and misunderstanding within a family. It's a nudge for us to nurture our family relationships and bridge any communication gaps.

The Tragedy of Unfulfilled Dreams

Miller's Death of a Salesman is a tragic tale of unfulfilled dreams. Willy's relentless pursuit of his dream, despite the reality not matching up, leads to his tragic end. It's a wake-up call for us to reassess our dreams and aspirations and align them with our reality.

Quotes 5

Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' is a profound narrative of the human condition, a tragic tale that resonates deeply within the soul.

Tennessee WilliamsTennessee Williams - Playwright, Streetcar Named Desire

Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' is a timeless masterpiece, a work of art that transcends the boundaries of time and space.

Harold BloomHarold Bloom - Literary Critic, Scholar

Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' is a poignant exploration of the American Dream, a profound commentary on the human experience.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr.Arthur Schlesinger Jr. - Historian, Social Critic

Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' is a powerful portrayal of the human struggle, a tragic tale that speaks to the heart.

Elia KazanElia Kazan - Director, Writer

Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' is a profound exploration of the human psyche, a tragic tale that resonates deeply within the soul.

Norman MailerNorman Mailer - Novelist, Journalist
Tennessee WilliamsHarold BloomArthur Schlesinger Jr.Elia KazanNorman Mailer

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