Essay on 'Death of a Salesman' Setting

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Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman addresses the loss of identity and a man's inability to accept change within himself and society. The play is a montage of memories, dreams, confrontations, and arguments, all of which make up the last 24 hours of Willy Loman's life. The play concludes with Willy's suicide and subsequent funeral.

Arthur Miller's play was directed by Volker Volker Schlondorff. Death of a Salesman is a 1949 stage play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances. It is a two-act tragedy set in 1940s New York and told through a montage of memories, dreams, and arguments of the protagonist Willy Loman, a traveling salesman who is disappointed in his life and appears to be slipping into senility. The play contains a variety of themes, such as the American Dream, the anatomy of truth, and betrayal. It explores the psychological chaos of the protagonist and the capitalist society's impact on his life.

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Death of a Salesman is a good but tedious two-hour-long movie that presents us with sharp morale related to the dream pursued. For the people who dislike reading, this movie gives you a very close experience to reading the play because Schlondorff uses Miller's exact script and the acting allows the audience to understand the themes and morals. The 'Outstanding Achievement in Drama” awarded movie could be criticized for the absence of lighting in the set and the length. The poor lighting employed in the recording affects the ability of the viewer to appreciate the good minimalist acting used by the actors. The length of the movie can become a problem because it’s too long, provoking a sense of boredom in the audience.

The first act of the movie takes place in the Loman household, where it is revealed to us that Willy isn't doing very well mentally, as he seems to be out of touch with reality. The setting of this first act helps set the mood, as we see that just like Willy the set of the first act isn't all together. The walls of the home aren’t together and there is no roof in the kitchen, even though Willy says he put one up. This style choice for the first act is quite ingenious because it helps us understand the state of not only Will but also his family. In the second act, the settings of each scene outside of the house are more normal and put together. This brilliant approach to the setting helps the audience understand the state of Willy and his family.

The setting of the film was very accurate to the setting described in the play although it did look cheap at times. This film portrays very well the struggles of the American Dream which are still very present to this day. To make this movie enjoyable for audiences, they should make a newer version of the movie that as a result will make the movie get more recognition. The negative reviews that I found are, that the movie is very long, a terrible adaptation, and poor lighting. In the beginning, we can find this movie uninteresting but as the story goes by it is pretty good. The audience can appreciate good performances by the actors.


Biff had been working up to changing throughout the play, his brother Happy had not been. Happy is the Younger brother who dreams of getting recognized and does so in inappropriate ways. He had been expressing his unhappiness by sleeping with his bosses’ fiancés and by lying about whatever it took for things to go his way. Happy in many ways represents the people sitting on the sidelines of the period; the countries avoiding getting involved in the global conflict or those following the appeasement philosophy of giving in to what Germany wanted, but in the United States it could be the men and woman living in luxury while the people around them starve. Happy in Miller’s personal life could represent his wife Marilyn Monroe who was known to be living a good life but getting involved with drugs and unsavory people. Happy in the end does not grow or change the things happening around him like Monroe who dies of a drug overdose. The characters in Death of a Salesman represent the internal struggle going around in the world when it takes place. Miller, like his characters, had been through tough times with his relationships and money.

The entire plot is told from the perspective of the protagonist Willy Loman. As the last name alludes, Willy has never accomplished anything in his life and now is at the very end of it where he still hopes of making it big in the world. He is 63 years old and has the mind of a child. Willy lives in the glory days of the past where his mind tends to switch back and forth, from the present to the past. From his name we learn how the reader is hanging on a cliff to see Willy 'will he do it'. And his last name gives the feeling of him being a 'low man', someone low on the social ladder and unlikely to succeed. He alternates between different perceptions of his life. Willy seems childlike and relies on others for support, even though he pretends to refuse the help given by his brother Ben when he's asked to go to Africa. But in the end, he fails to accomplish anything at all. Expressionism is defined as a style of play in which the playwright seeks to express emotional experience through their work.

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