By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
Bargains an inquiry into the that means of yankee Dream. This play which gained the writer a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award offers the lead personality, Willy Loman (played over the years by way of Lee J Cobb, George C Scott, Dustin Hoffman, and Brian Dennehy, between others), who has come to symbolize the middle-class fight.
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Extra resources for Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
1 They are a collective reminder of what we were and what we imagine we want to become; from its inception in the tragosodos, the “goat songs” whose dithyrambic intensity galvanized early Greek audiences of tragedy, the tragic has served this self-reﬂexive purpose. As a result of its role as cultural identiﬁer, the tragic idea deﬁnes itself as a function of that crisis to which Murray Krieger refers. 2 Katharsis, mentioned only once (vaguely) by Aristotle in the Poetics (1449b), means “purity” or “purgation” but is widely interpretable depending on one’s view of purity or purgation.
Robert A. Martin (New York: Penguin Books, 1978) 4. ” 3. Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s Collected Plays (New York: Viking, 1957) I. 146. Hereafter cited parenthetically in the text as Salesman. 4. Arthur Miller, Salesman in Beijing (New York: Viking, 1984) 190. Hereafter cited parenthetically in the text as Beijing. 5. See Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Inﬂuence People (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1936); and Russell H. Conwell, Acres of Diamonds (New York: Harper, 1905).
Discussion of Willy’s values speciﬁcally clariﬁes questions pertaining to Willy’s inﬁdelity and singular effort both to seek and escape from conscious recognition of the role he played in Biff ’s failure. Moreover, discussion of Willy’s values helps us understand why Willy feels compelled to commit suicide. Ultimately, an analysis of Willy’s values even helps to explain why Death of a Salesman is a tragedy, for in Willy Loman’s drama of frustration, anguish, and alienation, we see a human struggle that is rooted in metaphysical as well as social and psychological concerns.