For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to life He don t put a bolt to a nut, he don t tell you the law or give you medicine He s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine Willy Loman has been a salesman foryears At , he is cast aside, his usefulness now exhausted With no future to dream about he must face the crushing disappointments of his past He takes one final brave action, but is he heroic at last , or a self deluding fool


10 thoughts on “Death of a Salesman

  1. Annet Annet says:

    A Classic with a big C I can see why It s not a happy story A story about a troubled family About getting older and getting cast aside after years of hard work, never having quite made it About big expectations, never met Infidelity About the estranged relationship between father and son A father, what s he doing Panicking because he is loosing his job loosing his grip on things on his boys hallucinating even Present and past events or even imagined flow in and out of the sto A Classic with a big C I can see why It s not a happy story A story about a troubled family About getting older and getting cast aside after years of hard work, never having quite made it About big expectations, never met Infidelity About the estranged relationship between father and son A father, what s he doing Panicking because he is loosing his job loosing his grip on things on his boys hallucinating even Present and past events or even imagined flow in and out of the story A tragedy unfolding Already I think I need to reread it to really grasp the whole story I was impressed Although this was not a pleasant read In the format of a play and of course many famous actors played their part in Death of a Salesman.Death of a Salesman was first presented in a London Theatre on 28 July 1949 Linda hearing Willy outside the bedroom, calls with some trepidation Willy Willy It s allright, I came back.Linda Why What happened Slight pause Did something happen Willy Willy No, nothing happened Linda You didn t smash the car, did you Willy with casual irritation I said nothing happened Didn t you hear me Linda Don t you feel well Willy I m tired to death The flute has faded away He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb I couldn t make it I just couldn t make it, Linda


  2. Melki Melki says:

    A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. There s something to be said for waiting until later in life to read certain books The struggles of Willy Loman would have meant little to my younger,impatient self Now, the huge amount of time Loman spends dreaming of his halcyon days strikes a chord with me Memory has a way of making everything seem bigger, brighter and better than it actually was People have a tendency to dwell on the past when the present turns out to be not A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. There s something to be said for waiting until later in life to read certain books The struggles of Willy Loman would have meant little to my younger,impatient self Now, the huge amount of time Loman spends dreaming of his halcyon days strikes a chord with me Memory has a way of making everything seem bigger, brighter and better than it actually was People have a tendency to dwell on the past when the present turns out to be not as they had hoped, and Willy Loman s present is nearly as bleak as it can get.What s left to say when your boss s son dares to call you kid What are you supposed to do when the children who once idolized you now look at you with a mixture of frustration and pity A salesman is got to dream, boy It comes with the territory.


  3. Fergus Fergus says:

    When I was a young kid, I always insisted like a spoiled brat on having one foot wedged securely in the closing door of Paradise As the bright light of that paradisal dawn left my world on its ceaseless journey west, I refused to think Paradise was over for me at least until the fat lady started to singAnd way back in 1960, I sat next to my Mom on a gleaming though already antiquated little post war twin prop aeroplane to Toronto.The smiling and immaculately pageboy d stewardess hand When I was a young kid, I always insisted like a spoiled brat on having one foot wedged securely in the closing door of Paradise As the bright light of that paradisal dawn left my world on its ceaseless journey west, I refused to think Paradise was over for me at least until the fat lady started to singAnd way back in 1960, I sat next to my Mom on a gleaming though already antiquated little post war twin prop aeroplane to Toronto.The smiling and immaculately pageboy d stewardess handed out little plastic twin propped replicas of the airship she was so proud of to all the jubilant kids on board, in fact as well as new Life Magazines crammed with photos many of them in FULL COLOUR of the laughing JFK and Jackie.The dour, staid, grim Fifties were over Prosperity and the American Dream had RETURNED.The changes in families we knew were obvious Their lives suddenly went faster Things suddenly had to be New, Newer or if you worked hard enough NEWEST Everyone suddenly laughedloudly.Togetherness became pass.But life suddenly became EMPTIER Love and caring and honesty became very much less in evidenceThe American Dream was back, and the simple, magical dreams of our childhood were swallowed up in the new world of fast, cheap plastic entertainment and values.We kids felt cheated.We had LOST something valuable and extremely important.And just as suddenly WE felt lost.Now, Willy Loman wanted his son to care but to care about the American Dream and not about its core values Just as, ironically, those lost values were now so clearly evinced in his boy s innocent love, written all over his young face the simple love of children everywhere Willy s values had been gradually and insidiously displaced to fall under the cheaply smiling aegis of the Almighty Buck Radix malorum est, to quote Chaucer.This is how parents fail their kids Through a displacement of their deepest values Then evil begins.And value displacement breeds alienation, folks Cheap lives breed cheap kids It s as simple as that.Instead of resting in the love of our families, we start continually hankering after that eternal carrot dangling from the string.You know, as a kid myself, I saw FAR too much of that So, as adults, my wife and I decided to scale back our lives To SIMPLIFY things.We haven t owned a car in nearly twenty years And we re happier That s a start.The other thing that I realized was indispensable is Faith.Because if you haven t kept nurturing that, one day your world will crumble, just as it did for Willy s son, when you see you ve always just been sold a bill of goods by the world But if your Faith is intact on that day, it will stand you in VERY good stead indeed.For THEN you can then relax and pull back your tightly wedged footFor that passageway to Heaven will finally OPEN WIDE AGAIN


  4. RachelAnne RachelAnne says:

    Hate Hate Oh, the hate Arthur Miller does a beautiful job of conveying the emptiness and meaninglessness of his protagonist s life It left me wanting to jump off a very tall building if only I could overcome the crushing ennui and the conviction that even ending ones life was too meaningless and futile to contemplate Maybe that means Miller accomplished what he set out to do, but I don t have to like it.


  5. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    The action below takes place in the GR cafeteria. GR Do you mind, is this seat taken STEVEN No, please do GR How are you today STEVEN FineGR Could you spare a few moments STEVEN SureGR So, what did you think of Death of a Salesman STEVEN Great , the venue may have been small, but that just made the whole experienceintimate I parked myself in a seat somewhere near the back and in the middle, so had a good panoramic view of the stage, the performances from all the cast were go The action below takes place in the GR cafeteria. GR Do you mind, is this seat taken STEVEN No, please do GR How are you today STEVEN FineGR Could you spare a few moments STEVEN SureGR So, what did you think of Death of a Salesman STEVEN Great , the venue may have been small, but that just made the whole experienceintimate I parked myself in a seat somewhere near the back and in the middle, so had a good panoramic view of the stage, the performances from all the cast were good, with Willy Loman and wife Linda being the memorable ones The play itself, with themes of anxiety and insecurity mainly takes place in the Lomans house and yard, with capitalism and one mans struggle with work dominating the story, it could be viewed as a social criticism, a tragedy, or simply just a psychological study of disintegration, cleverly though, Miller never takes sides with anyone, leaving the viewer to reach their own conclusions regarding the actions that take place Written in 1949 and somehow winner of the Pulitzer it ties in strongly with miller s own family, and their problems during the great depression.It held my attention throughout, and received a deserved round of applause at the end I then went for a few cocktails, all in all, a good night.GR ErI was actually referring to the written play, the book STEVEN Oh that, sorry Well once you have seen the play with your own eyes, reading it was never going to be the same, by act two I was starting to get fidgety, that s not a good sign 2.5 5GR Thank you for your timeSTEVEN No problemGR Oh , just onethingSTEVEN YesGR Could you see yourself reading anyplays STEVEN Miller, probably not Any other playwrights, probably yes.GR Again, thank youSTEVEN Any time, goodbye


  6. Brian Brian says:

    Attention must be paid The only time I saw Death of a Salesman professionally performed I was almost 19 and I wept for most of the second act I have not read or seen it since, but recently returned to it 16 years after my first encounter with this piece I still am moved by it, but for very different reasons I guess that is what makes it a classic.The protagonist of the play, the iconic Willy Loman, is a frustrating, loser of a man who frankly has been a cruel fool his entire life He is j Attention must be paid The only time I saw Death of a Salesman professionally performed I was almost 19 and I wept for most of the second act I have not read or seen it since, but recently returned to it 16 years after my first encounter with this piece I still am moved by it, but for very different reasons I guess that is what makes it a classic.The protagonist of the play, the iconic Willy Loman, is a frustrating, loser of a man who frankly has been a cruel fool his entire life He is jealous of people who succeed, even when their success is because of their own merits, he is an adulterer, and he is a dad who wants to be his son s buddy, not his father In short, he is everything I dislike I don t feel sympathy for Willy Loman, and when he died I breathed a sigh of relief for his family who has been relieved of the burden of dealing with him With the exception of his ever faithful wife, Linda, Willy s sons have already relieved themselves of him to varying degrees So the hero of the play is not noble, and does not meet Aristotle s definition of a tragic hero So what is the tragedy Why is the play so important I think there are two primary reasons.The first is the relationship between Willy and his sons, especially Biff Biff and his father love each other very much they just don t love each other very well I think there are a lot of fathers and sons who can relate to that dynamic It made me cringethan a few times with its poignancy, and accuracy And watching Biff s frustration with trying to communicate honestly with his father the fault belonging to them both was the reason for my weeping all those years ago.The other reason the play is tragic is because although Willy is a nobody and I think it is his own doing he was loved by some people who cared deeply about him Despite a wonderful wife, some loyal friends that he does not deserve, etc Willy is always looking for greener grass and never content with what is in front of him To have some truly good things, primarily family love and friendship, and to spit in its face for decades is the tragedy Willy was a somebody to them, but it was not enough for him The tragedy of this piece stems from Willy s ignorance, and also is extended for those who loved him.There is a lot that can be said about this play, and I don t pretend to be the final word These are just some thoughts Read it for yourself let some of the lovely prose sweep over you Pay attention to some of Linda s speeches as even out of context they are wonderful I don t think you will walk away from Death of a Salesman unhappy that you read it


  7. Manny Manny says:

    ME Good evening and welcome to part 3 of Newt Gingrich meets Arthur Miller As you may know, Mr Gingrich has recently been encouraging Americans to read Miller s works Our third episode is devoted to Death of a Salesman, which LAWYER Hold it right there.ME I m sorry Is there a problem LAWYER Oh, go on and pretend you don t know what this is about The salesman you re referring to is my client, President Donald Trump Death is too obvious to be worth commenting on Like so many liber ME Good evening and welcome to part 3 of Newt Gingrich meets Arthur Miller As you may know, Mr Gingrich has recently been encouraging Americans to read Miller s works Our third episode is devoted to Death of a Salesman, which LAWYER Hold it right there.ME I m sorry Is there a problem LAWYER Oh, go on and pretend you don t know what this is about The salesman you re referring to is my client, President Donald Trump Death is too obvious to be worth commenting on Like so many liberals, you re openly inciting violence as an alternative to reasoned political discourse We ve seen it with Kathy Griffin, we ve seen it with that disgusting production of Julius Caesar and now you ME But I m not.LAWYER You re not advocating violence against Donald Trump ME No, not at all.LAWYER You fail to convince, Dr Rayner I ve read your pieces on Goodreads Tell me, if you learned tomorrow that Trump had been shot, how would you react ME Well, I must admit that my first reaction would be delighted surpriseLAWYER Ha Out of your own mouth ME but as soon as the initial buzz had worn off, I think I d be rather disappointed.LAWYER Did I hear you say disappointed ME Yes, absolutely.LAWYER This is absurd May I remind you that you have posted nearly a hundred anti Trump pieces over the last couple of years ME I m almost there I just need five .LAWYER You ve made comments about his sexual assaults on women, his open contempt for basic democratic principles, his flirtation with white supremacist groups ME All true.LAWYER You ve mentioned his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Accord, a policy which could cause incalculable damage to the Earth s fragile ecosystem and result in the deaths of billions of peopleHe coughsAllegedly And you still don t want Trump dead Dr Rayner, you re not being straightforward with us here Of course you want him dead Any sensible person would.ME You said it, I didn t.LAWYER I naturally meant, any sensible person with your misguided beliefs.ME Thank you for the clarification.LAWYER So you admit it ME No, I don t Much as I dislike Trump, I think he svaluable to us alive.LAWYER You ll need to explain that.ME Well, Trump is such a vile, universally despised excuse for a human being that everything he touches is automatically discredited in the eyes of a good two thirds of the world s population Many right wing politicians could do a better job of promoting those views So in fact, I d rather have him alive and destroying his own party from the inside.LAWYER This is absurd How can you ME Wait a minute May I ask you a direct question Do you, personally, like Donald Trump LAWYER I resent this question Needless to say, I have the highest respect for ME I should add that one of my Goodreads friends goes to the same hairdresser as your wife.LAWYER I uh ME So I know what you really think of himPause LAWYER Okay, okay He s a sack of shit But he s paying me 1750 an hour.ME And if he died tomorrow, he wouldn t LAWYER Uh, of course ME So you re in just the same position He s worthto you alive I rest my casePause LAWYER You know, maybe we ve gotin common than I thought Let s go get ourselves a drink.ME And talk about Death of a Salesman We kind of forgot what this review was about.LAWYER I always loved that play I could watch the scene where Biff steals the fountain pen a thousand times.ME Do you think the Freudian interpretation is too facileFade to black


  8. Susan Budd Susan Budd says:

    Recently Goodreads added a Rereading Feature so members can keep track of all the times they ve read a book I wonder how many times I ve read Death of a Salesman The first time I read it was in high school and I didn t really like it In later years I developed an appreciation for the play and assigned it to my college literature classes I even got a VHS tape of the 1985 film with Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich and watched it with my students Now I find myself again teaching a literature Recently Goodreads added a Rereading Feature so members can keep track of all the times they ve read a book I wonder how many times I ve read Death of a Salesman The first time I read it was in high school and I didn t really like it In later years I developed an appreciation for the play and assigned it to my college literature classes I even got a VHS tape of the 1985 film with Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich and watched it with my students Now I find myself again teaching a literature course I needed a play and Death of a Salesman fit my theme It s been maybe ten years since I last read it, but each time I read it, at each stage of my life, I get something different from it I getfrom it, so muchI want to say that I have no words to describe how I feel on my umpteenth reading my official reread number , but it isn t true I have too many words I think I could write an essay on the stage directions alone Houses Covered by Leaves A melody is heard, played upon a flute It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon The curtain rises 11.The whole play is contained in these three little lines They are like a poem In all my rereadings I never thought much about these things the flute, the grass, the trees, the horizon But this time, they were all I could see An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream rising out of reality 11.This time I read the dream instead of the reality The dream begins with a melody played upon a flute somewhere in South Dakota At the beginning of the dream Willy is four years old He s in a horse drawn wagon with his mother His father plays a flute he has carved with his own hands His inventor father His adventurer father His soon to be absent father In the dream, Willy and his sons hunt snakes and rabbits in Brooklyn His sons are strong and handsome Athletes Adonises Willy builds a new front stoop, a porch, an extra bathroom He puts up a new ceiling in the living room He makes payments on the refrigerator and the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner He has a mortgage He s proud of how his sons simonize the car.There are two elm trees where Willy and Biff hang a swing And the fragrance of lilac and wisteria, peonies and daffodils wafts in through the windows This is the dream In reality, the trees are gone, the grass won t grow, and the Loman house is boxed in by apartment buildings on both sides The way they boxed us in here Bricks and windows, windows and bricks 17 The grass don t grow any , you can t raise a carrot in the back yard 17.In reality, by the time the appliances are paid for they re already used up and broken By the time the mortgage is paid, there s no one left to live in the house I see houses like the Loman house They always make me a little bit sad Houses boxed in by apartment buildings on either side Houses that once had views of the sky and little vegetable gardens in the back Houses through which the scent of trees and flowers must have wafted I think of the inhabitants of those houses I root for them But I know someday a grandson or granddaughter will inherit the house and sell it so thatapartment buildings can be built Then the last traces of a dream will fade away forever Only the music of the flute is left on the darkening stage as over the house the hard towers of the apartment buildings rise into sharp focus, and The Curtain Falls 139 A Diamond, Shining in the DarkIn the end, I ask myself if Biff was right, if Willy had the wrong dreams 138 But no Willy was lost, but his dreams weren t wrong Speaking to his dead brother, Willy says I still feel kind of temporary about myself51 This says it all.Early in the play Linda says life is a casting off 15 and Willy replies some people accomplish something 15 At sixty three, Willy is still trying to accomplish something At a time when he should be casting things off, settling into retirement, and enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of work, he is struggling to pay his mortgage, his life insurance He s driving to Boston when the effort of putting his valises into the car is exhausting And he s doing it all on commission now that his salary has been taken away A man can t go out the way he came in 125.In the dream, Willy plants something He puts seed into the ground He walks into the dark jungle like his brother and walks out with a diamond for his family And as Charley says Nobody dast blame this man 138


  9. Brian Yahn Brian Yahn says:

    Dreams have a dark side, and Death of a Salesman makes that painfully obvious.Willy Loman, like all of us, just wants to be successful And although at the start of the play he s amounted to nothing but failure, it s not from bad intention, it s not from lack of trying, it s from his ignorance Willy thinks that success is measured in wealth, and the key to that is being well liked But he tries to cheat his way to wealth instead of work hard and learn from his mistakes , so he ends up with no Dreams have a dark side, and Death of a Salesman makes that painfully obvious.Willy Loman, like all of us, just wants to be successful And although at the start of the play he s amounted to nothing but failure, it s not from bad intention, it s not from lack of trying, it s from his ignorance Willy thinks that success is measured in wealth, and the key to that is being well liked But he tries to cheat his way to wealth instead of work hard and learn from his mistakes , so he ends up with no friends or money The salesman in Willy likes to say you re only worth what you can sell But Willy can t sell a damn thing He s worthless.As they say, ignorance is bliss, and this play is really Willy attempting everything he can including driving himself to insanity to keep from acknowledging that he s just a lying, cheating, good for nothing failure.What really makes this play stand out is how all of the characters so perfectly embody different aspects of Willy His wife treats him exactly how he wishes society would, his sons grow up to be just like him and when he notices it, his fantasy starts to fall apart , and his neighbor and his neighbor s kid are everything he wishes he and his sons were So seeing Willy interact with these people is really interesting Also, the dialogue is great When I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty one I walked out And by God I was rich.


  10. Nicci Nicci says:

    In this book, Arthur Miller s masterpiece, one finds the reason that Miller was blacklisted during the Red Scare His undisguised longing for a break from the class system and his disdain for the so called American Dream are nothing short of remarkable Within Willy Lowman resides the typical American Dream with no reality Overtaken by industrialism and materialism, this character represents the absolute failure of society s promise of economic prosperity His life ends in the most tragic and In this book, Arthur Miller s masterpiece, one finds the reason that Miller was blacklisted during the Red Scare His undisguised longing for a break from the class system and his disdain for the so called American Dream are nothing short of remarkable Within Willy Lowman resides the typical American Dream with no reality Overtaken by industrialism and materialism, this character represents the absolute failure of society s promise of economic prosperity His life ends in the most tragic and simplest of ways Sadly, the salesman who had worked his entire life just to be rewarded with the death of a salesman, surrounded by friends, the spectator comes to the realization that everything he has worked so hard to build has either fallen or is no longer useful Biff is representative of a man who can see that one cannot, generally will not, always get what they dream of He is the man who understands that this promise of the land of opportunity is misunderstood It is the land of opportunity opportunity for those who can afford it However, for those who are just trying to get buy, who do not have a fortune to thrive with these people are the ones who often work the hardest to come to the end of their life to find out that they will never be given the opportunity that they were promised.A classic American tragedy, I think that this is one of the most important commentaries on the economic slump that still exists in our current society