Death Of Salesman

Arthur Miller is one of the most renowned and important American playwrights to
ever live. His works include, among others, The Crucible and A View from the

Bridge. The plays he has written have been criticized for many things, but have
been praised for much more, including his magical development of the characters
and how his plays provide "good theater". In his plays, Miller rarely says
anything about his home life, but there are at least some autobiographical"hints" in his plays. Arthur Miller is most noted for his continuing efforts
to devise suitable new ways to express new and different themes. His play Death
of a Salesman, a modern tragedy, follows along these lines. The themes in this
play are described and unfurled mostly through Willy Lomanís, the main
character in the play, thoughts and experiences. The story takes place mainly in

Brooklyn, New York, and it also has some "flashback" scenes occurring in a
hotel room in Boston. Willy lives with his wife Linda and their two sons, Biff
and Happy in a small house, crowded and boxed in by large apartment buildings.

The three most important parts of Death of a Salesman are the characters and how
they develop throughout the play; the conflicts, with the most important ones
revolving around Willy; and the masterful use of symbolism and other literary
techniques which lead into the themes that Miller is trying to reveal. Arthur

Miller was born in Manhattan on October 17, 1915 to Isidore and Augusta Barnett

Miller. His father was a ladies coat manufacturer. Arthur Miller went to grammar
school in Harlem but then moved to Brooklyn because of his fatherís losses in
the depression. In Brooklyn he went to James Madison and Abraham Lincoln High

Schools and was an average student there, but did not get accepted to college.

After high school, he worked for 2 Ĺ years at an auto supply warehouse where he
saved $13 of his $15 a week paycheck. He began to read such classics as

Dostoevski and his growing knowledge led him to the University of Michigan.

While at the University of Michigan, Miller worked many jobs such as a mouse
tender at the University laboratory and as a night editor at the newspaper

Michigan Daily. He began to write plays at college and won 2 of the $500 Hopwood

Playwriting Awards. One of the two awarded plays No Villain (1936) won the

Theaterís Guild Award for 1938 and the prize of $1250 encouraged him to become
engaged with Mary Grace Slattery, whom he married in 1940. Miller briefly worked
with the Federal Theater Project and in 1944 he traveled to Army Camps across

Europe to gather material for a play he was doing. His first Broadway play, The

Man Who Had All the Luck, opened in 1944. Since then he has written 13 award
winning plays and more than 23 different noted books. He had two children with

Mary Grace Slattery, Jane and Robert, but divorced her and in 1956 married

Marilyn Monroe. He then divorced her later that decade, and, in 1962, married

Ingeborg Morath and had one child with her, named Rebecca. He now lives on 400
acres of land in Connecticut and spends his time gardening, mowing, planting
evergreens, and working as a carpenter. He still writes each day for four to six
hours. His father always told him to read. He once said, "Until the age of
seventeen, I can safely say that I never read a book weightier than ĎTom Swift
and the Rover Boysí, but my father brought me into literature with

Dickens"(Nelson, Pg. 59). His fatherís good-natured joking was used to
invent the character of Joe Kellerís genial side. After the Fall (1947) is a
play written by Miller where he sneaks in some small autobiographical notes. The
character traits exhibited by the main woman in the play indicate his motherís
early encouragement to his literary promise. The Depression still troubles him
today, especially for the hard times that he went through as a child. In an
interview, he once said, It seems easy to tell how it was to live in those
years, but I have made several attempts to tell it and when I do try I know I
cannot quite touch that mysterious underwater, vile thing. (Welland, Pg. 38) His
parents could not afford college for him, so the Depression affected his life in
many ways. Miller hated the McCarthy Witch-hunt trials of the early 1950ís,
and once was called before that