Death of a Salesman
Title: Death of a Salesman
Author: Arthur Miller
Publication Date: 1949
Death of a Salesman: Literary Guide
Death of a Salesman was written by Arthur Miller in 1949 as a play for the stage. It had the distinction of premiering on Broadway the same year and ran for over 700 shows. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the same year and was hugely popular on account of its protagonist’s relatability to the common man. It was also touted to be the best American play since A Streetcar Named Desire.
The play opened to receptive audiences in the global arena and was more favorably praised in countries with communist or socialist regimes and political propaganda. This was perhaps because it subtly condemns capitalist greed and the psychological chaos it causes in the minds and lives of ordinary people.
In Germany, the play was even more popular than it was in the USA. In India, it was adapted regionally and in China, Arthur Miller himself directed it and opened the play to very welcoming and accepting audiences.
The play is a work of fiction that showcases the psychological impact of a money-minded capitalist society in the life of a middle-class, struggling salesman and his family. The play is often satirical in its representation of the “American dream”– of financial success and social privileges borne thereof.
With few characters– nearly all of them from a nuclear American family, the play focuses on the relationship between an ageing, almost retiring father and his young, about-to-enter-the-world son. This is a strained relationship, as most of them tend to be, as the father wishes his son to follow in his footsteps (but with more success) and the son wants to prove his father wrong in nearly all vistas of life.
It is a play that makes the audience question seeking ambition and money versus quality of life. And even seventy years since its infancy, the central theme of Death of a Salesman resonates today.
Death of a Salesman Biography
Death of a Salesman Background
Death of a Salesman Characters
Death of a Salesman Summary and Analysis
Death of a Salesman Themes
Death of a Salesman Quotes
Death of a Salesman Discussion Questions