Presentation on theme: "First performed in 1949, premiering in Philadelphia Won the Pulitzer Prize, achieved critical acclaim and ran for 742 performances on Broadway Considered."— Presentation transcript:
First performed in 1949, premiering in Philadelphia Won the Pulitzer Prize, achieved critical acclaim and ran for 742 performances on Broadway Considered to be playwright Arthur Miller’s masterpiece Examines the myth of the “American Dream” The work mixes realism and emotional issues without descending to melodrama
Arthur Miller was born in New York in 1915 Miller worked his work through the University of Michigan during the Great Depression Among his other works, “The Crucible” (1953) is well known for its satirical view of the McCarthy hearings and the Red Scare
Miller was accused of being Communist, but his conviction was overturned on a technicality Miller was briefly married to movie star Marilyn Monroe Arthur Miller died in 2005
View the play in the context of the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the end of World War II in 1945 While all but nonexistent today, traveling salesmen were common during the era Television had been invented but not yet ubiquitous, the most frequent sources of entertainment were radio, movies and staged plays
Audiences continue to be drawn to the pathos of the protagonist, Willy Loman The play is considered a recognized element of American culture
Appearances vs Reality: Willy’s frequent flashbacks suggest he is losing grip on reality. What appears to be true, or wishes to be true, often is not Individual vs Society: Willy fails because he cannot stop living in a reality that does not exist, which dooms him to fail in the reality that does exist Individual vs Self: Willy’s perception of what he should be is continually at odds with what he is The American Dream: Willy’s lack of education dooms him to failure. Seen as an indictment of the American Dream as represented in the 1920’s
The play is set in the urban areas of New York and Boston While grounded in realism, the play includes expressionism, specifically when it depicts imaginary sequences and characters’ internal thoughts and emotions The play is cyclical rather than sequential, told often through flashbacks The play is largely the representation of what takes place in the mind of Willy Loman during the last two days of his life
The end of World War II in 1945 created an unprecedented period of economic growth in the United States Housing and non-farming incomes grew, but the economic situations of the poor did not Inflation caused economic challenges and lowered the value of what little money the poor were able to save
Economic growth resulted in many consumers using credit for the first time. Until this era, individuals paid cash for major purchases other than their homes The onset of the Cold War led Americans to prove that capitalism was a more effective than Communism Rather than being motivated by a strict moral code, many Americans became more concerned with what others thought of them
Ben: Willy’s brother, who appears only through Willy’s imagination Bernard: Charley’s son and Willy’s only supporter outside the family Biff: Willy’s elder son, a former high school football idol who caught his father in an affair Charley: Willy’s only friend who eventually becomes Willy’s sole source of cash Happy: The younger of Willy’s two sons who grew up in the shadow of his brother
Linda: Willy’s long-suffering yet devoted wife; the only major female character in the play Willy: The salesman around whom the play is constructed
Identify Willy Loman’s personality and character. What influences have shaped his views? How does Arthur Miller convey Willy’s outlook and emotions? How do Biff and Hap’s adult lives show the influence of their childhood as seen in flashbacks? How does Willy’s love of what he terms “personality” conform to Howard’s idea that “business is business”? How does Miller begin and end flashbacks, memories and hallucinations and why? To what extent is Willy responsible for Biff’s difficulties in life? Find examples of Willy’s “hot air” in the play.
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.