Death of a Salesman. Arthur Miller American Drama. Modern American Drama Historical Background. Great Depression (1930s to middle 1940s) Fall in stock prices , stock market crash American Dream
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Such renowned American playwrights as Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller reached profound new levels of psychological realism, commenting through individual characters and their situations on the state of American society in general.
The American family, and its development and disintegration, was a recurring theme of playwrights at this time, and it would dominate much American playwriting for the rest of the 20th century.
Miller assertsthatafterseeingDeath of a Salesman,theaudiencemembers
“wereweepingbecausethecentralmatrix of theplay is.. whatmostpeopleareupagainst in theirlives.. Theywereseeingthemselves, not becauseWilly is a salesman but thesituation in which he stoodandtowhich he wasreactingagainsthim, thecentralsituation of contemporarycivilization. It is thatwearestrugglingwithforcesthatare far greaterthanwe can handle, with no equipmenttomakeanythingmeananything.”
“That’sjustthespirirt I wanttoimbuethem [HappyandBiff] with. Towalkinto a jungle!”
“Theonlythingyougot in thisworld is whatyou can sell. Andthefunnything is thatyou’re a salesman, andyoudon’tknowthat.”
-Willy has an affairwith her. He gives her expensivenylonstockingswhichwererareafter WWII.
-Sheappears in flashbackscenes, whichserve as a piercingpainfulremindertoWilly.
-Willy is havingdifficultydistinguishingbetweenwhat is realandwhat he wishesreal. (Delusions)
-Willyimaginesconversationswith his deadbrother, Ben, whichdemonstrates his fragile grip on reality.
-BiffandHappythink of themselvessuperiortootherswithoutanyrealevidence.
Comparetheconcept of AmericanDream in Death of a SalesmanwithPhiladelphia Here I Come.
Inthisway, theaudience can clearlyseewhichevents on stagearetakingplace in reality, andwhichevents on stagearetakingplace in reality, andwhicharetakingplace inside of Willy’smind.
Because of thewaytheplay is constructed, theaudience can seewhatthecharactershavebecomeandwhatexperiences, thoughts, andemotionsledthemtotheirpresentstate.