Arthur Miller: Biography and Expressionism. Mr. Miller Himself. Mr. Miller recently passed away at the age of 89 on February 11, 2005. He died of heart failure at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. According to CNN.com, “[his plays] made him one of the leading lights of 20th century theatre…”.
1999 revival of Death on Broadway on the plays’ 50th anniversary
The Inside of His Head
Note Miller’s use of music and sound…
“A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and tress and the horizon” (1321).
“From the right, Willy Loman, the Salesman, enters, carrying two large sample cases. The flute plays on. He hears but is not aware of it” (1321).
Willy: No, Ben! Please tell about Dad. I want my boys to hear. I want them to know the kind of stock they spring from. All I remember is a man with a big beard, and I was in Mamma’s lap. Sitting around a fire, and some kind of high music.
Ben: His flute. He played the flute.
Willy: Sure, the flute, that’s right! (New music isheard, a high, rollicking tune.)(1342).
“the gay music of the boys is heard” (1362).
“Willy (uttering a gasp of fear, whirling about as if to quiet her.) Sh! (He turns as if to find his way;sounds, faces, voices, seem to be swarming in upon him and he flicks at them crying) Sh! Sh! (Suddenly music, faint and high, stops him. It rises in intensity, almost to an unbearable scream”(1389).
“The entire setting is wholly or, in some places, partially transparent…When-ever the action is in the present the actors observe the imaginary wall lines, entering the house only through its door at the left.
Biff: “(goes through wall-line of kitchen to doorway at back and calls down). Fellas! Everybody sweep out the furnace room! I’ll be right down!”(1334)
As Act 2 opens, “Music is heard, gay and bright. The curtain rises as the music fades away. Willy, in shirt sleeves, is sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee, his hat in his lap.
Willy: Wonderful coffee. Meal in itself.
Linda: Can I make you some eggs? (1353)
That evening at Frank’s Chop House, Willy meets the boys for dinner:
Biff: Sit down, Pop. You want a drink?
Willy: Sure, I don’t mind.
Biff: Let’s get a load on.
Willy: You look worried.
Biff: N-no. Scotch all around. Make it doubles”(1372).
Linda: Be good. You’re both good boys, just act that way, that’s all.
Happy: ‘Night, Pop.
Linda: Come. Dear….
Willy: “I just want to get settled down, Linda. Let me sit alone for a little”(1388).
“Death of a Salesman stunned audiences with its brilliance and was quickly earmarked as a classic of the modern theatre.”