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Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Presentation will include information on: -Biography -Modern Theater -Guiding Questions.

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Presentation on theme: "Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Presentation will include information on: -Biography -Modern Theater -Guiding Questions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Presentation will include information on: -Biography -Modern Theater -Guiding Questions

2 Biography: Arthur Miller Born in Manhattan (upscale Harlem) on Oct. 17, Parents were Jewish immigrants. His father worked in the garment/textile industry.

3 The 1920s was an age of prosperity, and the concept of the “American Dream” was born. American Dream=work hard to earn your riches. Famous businessmen who symbolized the American Dream: JP Morgan and Henry Ford. Entrepreneurship was the key to success. The “salesman” was invented. Roaring Twenties

4 In 1928, his father’s business failed. After the stock market crash of 1929, the family moved to Brooklyn. His father withdrew from business ventures, and this affected Miller. Miller graduated from high school, but he had to work in order to save money for college. Miller in the 1920s

5 Miller in the Great Depression He attended the University of Michigan in College experience matured his writing style and skills as well as developed his ideas and involvement in social causes. Miller was greatly influenced by Henrik Ibsen (father of modern drama).

6 Miller in the Great Depression During the Great Depression, Miller watched rich people become poor overnight, and he grew cynical about the ideas of wealth and consumption. He wrote many plays that dealt with issues within the family structure. Miller also created characters who faced social inequities.

7 Miller in the 1940s The 1940s was an age of prosperity again. Unlike the 1920s, the 1940s had a surplus of goods and federal income. Americans felts so secure in the economy that people borrowed and loaned money. Everything was bought with credit. The American Dream was redefined=material wealth defined success. Salesman was an ideal job for men who had little education.

8 Miller in the 1950s McCarthyism (or Red Scare) took place in the 1950s. Miller wrote The Crucible, which discussed the paranoia of communism of the 1950s. This play brought him under the scrutiny of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC), but his career survived this experience.

9 Biography: Miller Miller was married three times, once to Marilyn Monroe. Continued to write plays and essays until his death in Daughter, Rebecca Miller, director/actress/writer. She was a consultant for the film version of The Crucible.

10 Realism in Modern Theater Death of a Salesman Time Period: Start of the 20th Century Realism: An attempt to reproduce faithfully the surface appearance of life, especially of ordinary people. Expressionism: distorting reality to create an emotional effect, especially emotional angst.

11 Modern Theater continued… Playwrights in the Modern Theater also experimented with TIME to provide a more novelistic experience for audiences. –Miller bounces back and forth from 1931 to –Are these memories real or fabricated? Playwrights dealt with social issues –Miller explores the conflicts of man vs. society (Willy Loman vs. American Dream), man vs. self (unsuccessful Willy Loman vs. ideal Willy Loman)

12 Themes to Watch Old vs. Young Generations: Willy Loman’s values vs. his sons’ values. Explore how fatherhood affects boys’ development. Advancement of Technology: Willy’s battles with appliances and technology—is this symbolic of being “obsolete”? American Dream: is this concept futile? Is this how success and manhood are really measured? Is this concept at odds with a man’s psycho-social development?

13 Guiding Questions What is the American Dream? What are the differences between the materialistic and the idealistic values that are associated with the American Dream? What comments is this play making on the idea of the American Dream and a man’s purpose in a modern world?


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