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Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman 1949

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Death of a Salesman and The Crucible (1953) are his most famous works. ... HUAC prosecuted writers, actors, teachers as well as union organizers ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman 1949


1
Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman (1949)
  • EN2112, Week 7
  • 30 September 2008

2
Housekeeping.
  • This Wednesday is Hari Raya Puasa, so no JWB
    tutorial it will happen on the following week
    during the same time, same place.
  • Papers Im grading the first bunch, then Ill
    go over them with Edwina. Edwina will grade
    second bunch, then go over with me. Give me
    another week, svp. Will give next essay
    assignment next week.
  • Questions?

3
Arthur Miller, b. 17 October 1915 d. February
10, 2005
4
Perhaps the most famous American Playwright?
  • one of Americas most respected playwrights, his
    critical reputation rests upon a relatively small
    body of work produced between 1947and 1968.
  • Death of a Salesman and The Crucible (1953) are
    his most famous works.

5
He was married to Marilyn Monroe!
6
biographical
  • Ambivalent feelings about his father, who never
    fully recovered from damage done by Great
    Depression. Oedipal theme regular in his work.
  • Solid Jewish family, possible source of moral
    seriousness
  • When to radical U of Michigan, joined Federal
    Theater Project in 1938, which was closed because
    of suspected communist infiltration.
  • Like all postwar America writers, he wrote in the
    wake of Modernism, under the towering figure of
    Joyce.

7
DoS was an immediate success
  •  
  • Death of a Salesman, 1949 Death of a Salesman
    premiered on Broadway on February 10, 1949 at the
    Morosco Theatre, directed by Kazan, and starring
    Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman, Mildred Dunnock as
    Linda, Arthur Kennedy as Biff, and Cameron
    Mitchell as Happy. The play was commercially
    successful and critically acclaimed, winning a
    Tony Award for best play, the New York City Drama
    Circle Critics Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for
    Drama. It was the first play to win all three of
    these major awards. The searing drama ran for 742
    performances.5 http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ar
    thur_Miller

8
Miller behaved honourably during HUAC wrote
about it as well
  • Miller was, in a sense, living the writers
    version of the American dreamGREAT success.
  • HUAC prosecuted writers, actors, teachers as well
    as union organizers
  • General strategy is to seed betrayal into a
    movement (see handout)
  • AM comported himself well.

9
Miller vs previous dramatic giant, Eugene ONeill
  • --like Eugene ONeill, his work is grounded in
    dramatic realism yet marked by experiments in
    Expressionist technique (
  • --like ONeills, Millers plays often attempt to
    capture formal power of Greek tragedy but in
    modern settings
  • --like ONeill, driven by dissatisfaction with
    American Dream and commercialism
  • --unlike ONeill his plays dont ramble over
    vast landscapes but are dramatically tight
  • --M. is a precise craftsman, has detailed
    exposition, moves toward focused dramatic ironies
  • --unlike ONeil, not interested in FATE or GOD
    but rather in how human beings have created their
    own social structures and paradigms

10
Some key moments in the play
  • Opening
  • Willy as a father
  • Uncle Bens visit
  • Willy between Charley and Ben
  • Biffs self-awareness
  • Acceleration the restaurant debacle
  • The funeral
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