Critical Insights: Death of a Salesman
Includes an examination of Death of a Salesman in the context of literary naturalism and monetary theory, as well as an in-depth analysis of Willy's comparison of Biff to Hercules. Other essays look at the differences between dream and reality while also considering the competing dreams of the Loman family.
When it premiered, Death of a Salesman received immediate critical praise and popular attention. Miller set out to change the face of American Drama and succeeded. The play won the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Donaldson Award, and Tony Awards for best play, best direction, best scene design, and best supporting actor. To this day, it remains one of the most-read and most performed plays in the world, and no survey course on American Drama would be complete without it.
Edited by distinguished scholar and one-time President of the American Theatre and Drama Society, Brenda Murphy, this volume brings together some of the best essays written on Miller's most accomplished play. The essays contained within present a variety of critical viewpoints and an array of critical approaches. Close readings include Jon Dietrick's consideration of the play in the context of literary naturalism and monetary theory and Terry W. Thompson's analysis of Willy's comparison of Biff to Hercules. Chester E. Eisinger looks at the differences between dream and reality while also considering the competing dreams of the Loman family and Fred Ribkoff addresses the dynamics of shame, guilt, empathy, and the search for identity in the play. In the volume's two concluding essays, Matthew C. Roudané provides a broad-based reading of Salesman while Christopher Bigsby considers the play in the context of American Culture.
Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "Works Cited," along with endnotes. Finally, the volume's appendixes offer a section of useful reference resources:
- Chronology of Arthur Miller's Life
- Works by Arthur Miller
- About the Editor