Universality of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

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Dr.K. Ramesh, et. al.

Abstract

This paper aims at analyzing Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman with a view to bring out its contemporary relevance. During its first performanace in 1949 the play shocked the American audience by its portrayal of the tragedy of the protagonist Willy Loman. The American audience were able to identify themselves with the protagonist and soon the tragedy of Willy Loman is empathised by the audience worldwide transcending spatio-temporal barriers. As put by June Schlueter, “He (Willy Loman) was a character who …encapsulated the spirit of the ordinary man whose work ethic, pride and self-deceptions did not admit defeat” (509). Willy commits suicide at the end of the play because of his inability to accept defeat. In fact, “Willy was the man everyone in the audience feared he would become, the man who unwittingly schooled us as a society on the need to accommodate our failures “ (509). Death of a Salesman will resonate with today’s audience because of its universal theme of an individual’s inability to realize his/her own dreams.

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