By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom

Bargains an inquiry into the which means of yank Dream. This play which gained the writer a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award provides the lead personality, Willy Loman (played over the years through 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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Additional resources for Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)

Example text

He also does the same when he counsels Biff to “watch [his] schooling” (Salesman 142), tells his sons “Never leave a job till you’re finished” (Salesman 143), or sentimentally praises America as “full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people” (Salesman 145). Even in scenes where he is troubled by Biff ’s stealing, failure of math, and renunciation of his love and authority after discovering his Family Values in Death of a Salesman 29 infidelity in Boston, Willy is probing only that part of his past that in some way calls into question his effectiveness as a father.

The nomenclature of America’s “religion of success” shows itself as what Adorno calls “words that are sacred without sacred content, as frozen emanations; the terms of the jargon of authenticity are products of the disintegration of the aura” (9–10). For example, Willy Loman’s repeated reference to being “wellliked” and statements such as “in those days there was personality in it.... There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it” (81) manifest this dangerous jargon. As Adorno writes, [T]he nimbus in which the words are being wrapped, like oranges in tissue paper, takes under its own direction the mythology of language, as if the radiant force of the words could not yet quite be trusted....

In Willy’s struggle. Maybe it comes from his refusal ever to relent, to give up” (Beijing 27). Against all odds, Willy Loman demands that his life have “meaning and significance and honor” (Beijing 49). Of course, in many ways, Willy ultimately fails to fulfill his dream. The Requiem clearly shows that he is not immortalized in death. His funeral is certainly not like the grand one he had imagined, and he still remains misunderstood by his family. But death does not defeat Willy Loman. The Requiem proves that his memory will continue to live on in those who truly mattered to him while he was alive.

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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (Bloom's Modern Critical by Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
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