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Arthur Miller

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Arthur Miller

Author Born in 1915 in NY into a middle-class Jewish family. He lived during the great depression and he had to work in a warehouse to make money; his father was a salesman.

He wrote "All my songs" and received a good success but in 49 he wrote his most famous work: Death of a Salesman. He also won the Pulitzer Price.

Miller knew the McCarthyism because his left-wing views made him a target foe McCarthy's committee; he refuse to cooperate and was condemned for contempt of Congress.

He added notoriety to fame when he married Marilyn Monroe.

Death of a Salesman: Willy Loman, a 60 yo NY travalling salesman is showing signs of mental stress. He has 2sons: Happy who has a good job and lives in NY, and Biff who lead a feckless existence. We know that Biff's lack of success is due to an unhappy relationship with his father.

He had been a bright student and a gifted athlete but when he discovered his father had a mistress he gave up his studies so Willy was a bit disappointed by his behaviour.

To please his father, one day Biff ask to a friend some money to set up a business and inexplicably he steal an expensive pen from his friend's desk and leave. He is imprisoned and, that night for the first time tells Willy what he really thinks about him. Willy drives off in his car and commits suicide.

Themes: what success and failure really mean. According to the American Dream, people who work honestly should achieve some successes. Willy, at the end of his career, realises that all his dreams and hopes for his future were only illusions.

The novel stresses the belief that success in life only means financial success. Willy is a victim of the world view. For the materialistic society he represents a failure because he kills himself.

Structure: frequent flashback to the past.


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