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Death of a Salesman (1948)

by Arthur Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,68999525 (3.65)243
The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman's deferred American dream   Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity--and a play that compresses epic extremes of humor and anguish, promise and loss, between the four walls of an American living room. "By common consent, this is one of the finest dramas in the whole range of the American theater." --Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times "So simple, central, and terrible that the run of playwrights would neither care nor dare to attempt it." --Time… (more)
  1. 20
    All My Sons by Arthur Miller (timspalding)
    timspalding: Similar, if not as good.
  2. 20
    Our Town by Thornton Wilder (kxlly)
  3. 11
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (FFortuna)
  4. 00
    A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller (varwenea)
    varwenea: A shared thread of angst amongst the common men ties these two plays. Both leads are flawed. Both pay for their mistakes.
  5. 01
    1933 Was A Bad Year by John Fante (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Le fils refuse de suivre la carrière professionnelle de son père.

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» See also 243 mentions

English (91)  Spanish (3)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
I distinctly remember feeling devastated when our class finished this in sixth form. ( )
  Neal_Anderson | Jun 11, 2020 |
Halfway through the first act, I wasn't impressed. But my friend Onnyx advised me to see it through to the end. Well worth it. The family dynamic is what most moved me, though it would be easy to see this as a commentary on the American Dream. The emotional involvement of the characters and the way that involvement drives their choices -- that is at the very heart of the play. Lovely. ( )
  TheaJean | Jun 2, 2020 |
Technically a play, but also a very thin book. Interesting tones about the American Dream, consumerism, and family. I recommend it simply because you can read this in an afternoon. (Or watch it, I assume there's some good versions of the Play around). ( )
  bhiggs | Apr 7, 2020 |
I must have read this play 10 times during my school years. Probably seen it times.

It's OK. Highly recommended - hence being forced to read it 10 times - but it never really grabbed me. It's like some great statue on the American Literature landscape: huge, passingly interesting, and then on to something else.

( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Even more powerful as a script ( )
  Richj | May 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
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First words
A melody is heard, played upon a flute.
You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life... He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back - that's an earthquake.
He's liked, but he's not well liked.
Biff : Shouldn’t we do anything?

Linda : Oh, my dear, you should do a lot of things, but there’s nothing to do, so go to sleep.
Charley : Howard fired you?

Willy : That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.

Charley : Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.

Willy : I’ve always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing-

Charley : Why must everybody like you? Who liked J. P. Morgan? Was he impressive?...But with his pockets on he was very well liked.
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1949 stage play
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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