Friday, February 10, 2006

Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller (January/06)

This is the famous American play written by Arthur Miller, who, as a pointless fact, was at one time married to Marilyn Munroe. It is not a long play, but in its short pages it covers many important issues about the world at large.

In the play we have Willy Loman who is the wornout, dreaming salesman that is the central character to the play. Then, as a sort of comparison, we have his two sons: Biff who is the all-American star but yet can't fit into American society and Happy who ironically is the unhappy younger brother.

All the action in the play is centred on one specific moment: Willy is approaching the end of his career, his glad-handing sale contacts are all dead or retired and he no longer is pulling in business for the company. He is quite honestly, about to be fired. The play has a lot going on because not only does it take place in the present, but it also blends scenes from the past when Willy is a young father, when he has a woman in Boston, and when Biff finds out that his father is not the man he thought he was.

This play was written to contradict the American dream. Willy was well-liked and worked hard, but even at the end he had hardly anything to show for it; which is not what the American dream was expected to do. In this play we find out what started Willy in his career and the bumps in the road all through his life. His wife is often the voice of reason, but as was typical of the time, no one ever seemed to listen to her. It is a play about the downward spiral of an ordinary man and you can not help but feel sorry for him.

Plays are hard to rate because they are not meant to be read, they are meant to be performed. So, let's say 4/5.

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