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What Could Have Changed In The Book Death Of A Salesman In A Different Time?

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Table of contents

  1. Place
  2. Language
  3. Different language, audience
  4. Conclusion

Death of a Salesman is a ‘’tragic’’ play written by Arthur Miller, an american playwright. The book is about the main protagonist, Willy Loman, a frustrated old salesman who’s fired from his job. The text shows the fragmentation that the modern man experiences in an dehumanizing world. Biff admits that he wasn’t able to get a loan to start a new business for Willy and this makes him commit suicide so that Biff could use the insurance money to secure a good future as well as guilt over Willy’s affair (Miller et al., 2004). Willy portrays his son’s Biff disappointment, who’s unable to find a job at the beginning of the play.

Willy’s suicide thoughts are revealed by a series of flashbacks, which his sons clear out by promising to go into business together. Willy worries from hopelessness and nervousness as a consequence of his wasting career, his relationship with his eldest son Biff and as well as the affair guilt. Willy has lost his capability to differentiate between his past and his present. Despite the last wishes of Willy, his funeral is not well attended as you observe at the end of the play. This play ends tragically. This paper aims to show the text ‘’Death of a Salesman’’ by Arthur Miller would have been different it it was set in a different time, place and language or for a different audience.

Multiple things would have been different if the text had been set in a different time. The story itself could have been different from the way it’s been portrayed. Say for instance Miller had written the story ten years later. Willy could have had a better understanding of cooperative and perhaps more compassionate towards his wife and children. Willy could not understand the ethics and principles of his society or even co-workers as opposed to his traditions that he still believed in. The whole story is about modern man experiences, who spent most of his time chasing the American dream but was disappointed at the end which resulted in committing suicide. If the story had been

written ten years later, it would’ve been far away from the similarity of reality. This experience could have occured in terms of the abilities of this ‘modern man’ to handle his business and moral emotions. Willy Loman would have had many opportunities if he was able to balance his emotions and feelings and business. It hows how many facts in the play would’ve been entirelly incorrect.


Another factor that could’ve been different is the place. The play was set in New York City, America since Willy’s wife Linda wanted him to ask his boss to let him work in NYC instead of Boston. The context of the book links to the American history especially. A very crucial fact for that matter. For example, say Willy Loman would have been an Australian, or a German or both; for instance, Willy’s experiences would have been entirely different from the way they are as an American. If the story was set in Germany or Australia, Willy’s story could’ve been changed because the American Dream was only for Americans (Miller et at., 2004). The American Dream was what made Willy have the desire to be successful and at the same time made him lose himself in the obsession of achieving this idyllic life. His story probably would’ve been shorter, if Willy could have achieved his dream and maybe made money the easy way, but in America, everyone wanted to be successful, and everyone was working towards that goal so the money could never have been enough.

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The book is written in English. However, the level of English American is very high since it’s their native language. This is because they had a formal education. The lever of literary determines the style it was written in, because the audience is American dream chasers generally. Arthur didn’t expect this book to reach a massive audience, mainly

because it was in English. If the book had been written in German and later translated in English, perhaps words or proverbs would have been lost, and most definitely sentences would’ve been changed in certain situations. For example, some German words cannot be translated into any language and still carry the message.

Different language, audience

So, what if Miller had his mind set on a particular audience? Say for example he would’ve written the book for children; he might’ve said that Willy died instead of committed suicide because the act of suicide could be scary for children. Children might be scared of the frustrations that this man went through and ended up committing suicide when he realizes he couldn’t achieve the dream. This is why the book is not rated for kids. The audience needs to be a bit older like middle-aged class since they can identify with the challenges Willy goes through in attempt to gain financial success. The audience could identify better with the frustrations Willy has. They can also cope with life and death better than compered to kids. But Arthur couldn’t have written this bool specifically for them. Would Willy be the same? I don’t think so; his character would’ve changed to meet the needs of the target audience.

The play is interesting enough to keep middle-aged adults entertained. The language would’ve been a bit warmer with no doubt. The most significant difference would have come if Miller had made this play for historians for example, or people who try to learn about the experiences of the American people in attempt to achieve the American Dream and, most specifically the experiences of men since they were the audience that obsessed overachieving this dream.


It i evident that this play is written accurately. Any slight change made to the book would result in an intirely different story, a different book or some extreme cases or no book at all. This change occurs with time since societies are dynamic and authors express themselves depending on the current issues facing the environment and society they’re in. The target audience also changes with time, and this is the reason why works of literature keep changing with time

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What Could Have Changed In The Book Death Of A Salesman In A Different Time? (2021, September 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
“What Could Have Changed In The Book Death Of A Salesman In A Different Time?” Edubirdie, 17 Sept. 2021,
What Could Have Changed In The Book Death Of A Salesman In A Different Time? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
What Could Have Changed In The Book Death Of A Salesman In A Different Time? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 17 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from:
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