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Death of A Salesman is the only book by Authur Miller I have read, and I must say I was not dissapointed! When yuo have read my review I want you to go upstairs and search your books for it, and if you haven't got it go up the library and get it...but read my review first!!
Now, this is the first book review I have done and am not sure how to go about it! So hopefully this is ok!
Willy Loman - Willy is the central character, he is a Salesman, but he is also stuck in the past. He believes that all you need to suceed in business is to be funny and "well liked." How wrong he was. Willy lost out to the harshness of modern-day business (well - 1949.) Willy frequently lives in his own world built up from memories, the times which he loved so much. Another thing about Willy is his pride, he is pround of himself and doesn't believe that he is a common salesman. He resents being called Dime-A-Dozen!
Biff Loman - Biff is Willy's eldest son, for a good part of his life he had high veneration for Willy. Biff as a young man was a great sportsman, and was going far, but his failing of Maths ruined his life in more way than one.
Happy Loman - Happy is Willy's youngest son and lives greatly in the shadow of Biff and the disillusion of Willy. Happy too wants to be a big sucess in business, but, the same as Willy, he is a faliure - the assistants assistant. Happy lives his life much the same as Willy has lived his. And in the end, he makes a memorable mistake which he will not relaise until he, like Willy, is in his old ages.
Linda Loman - Linda is Willy's wife and remains ever loyal to him. Linda has also been sucked into Willy's idealistic world. Linda greatly wants just to be happy in the city where they live.
Ben Loman - Ben is Willy's older brother. He is also dead. Ben is an entrepeneur, he went to Alaska at a young age and when he returned he was rich. Ben had offered Willy the chance to go with him, had Willy taken this, the play would have a far happier ending. Ben appears only in the memories of Willy and provides a complete contradiction to Willy's standards in business.
Charley - Charley is greatly sympahetic towards Willy and his family. He often lends Willy money to pretend it is his earning to Linda. Charley eagerly wants to help Willy out, but Willy refuses it.
Bernard - Bernard is an out and out sucess. He is the same age as Biff and was a "Swot" at school and subject to much mocking as a child from Biff and Willy, yet when grown up he can look down on them.
Howard Wagner - Howard has only a small part in the play but is a powerful symbol of the modern businessman. Howard was named by Willy yet, has no sympathy towards him when he comes and begs for his job.
The Woman - Unfortunatly by telling you this I am giving away a section of the play, but I cannot write a review on it without mentioning her as she plays a small but vastly important role. The woman ruins Biff, as he catched her and Willy in a hotel room together in Bosten, this is when Biff choses not to repeat Maths at summer school (since he failed it) and therefore ruins his chances of getting into the university of Virginia.
Death of a Salesman is a powerful play based round the woes of a common old fasioned businessman.
In this play Miller has cleverly put in many hidden Ironies which after re-reading all make sense.
-------------------------------------------------------------------I don't want to tell you much of the main plot/story line since it is just to complex to explain without ruining the ending, since Miller has cleverly put so many clues into it.
But this I will tell you:
Willy was a sucessful business man, or so he believed, the truth was he modern world of business was moving on without him, people like his boss Howard Wagner and his neigbour Charley, even his borther Ben they all have advanced and know that no longer can you get through business sucessfully by being a nice guy who has a laugh, you need to take chances and need to be harsh. Willy learns this in the few days that Death Of A Salesman is set.
It starts with the return of his two children - Biff and Happy.
Willy and Biff have history! History that devastated Biff and practically ruined his life. It is because of this history that Biff has a hold over Willy since he to is ashamed about it.
As the play goes on Miller adds in great detail about the characters that I haven't seen be done so well in any other play that I have read.
We learn so much about the capitalist soceity that was around in these times and the lay is designed to be: "a tragedy of a normal man". Willy is the victim of capitalism.
I will leave the plot here as reading it is the only way you can truely understand it properly.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> When you read this play you must be open minded and think about what is written. And once you ahve read it once I reccomend you re-read it since you will find endless amounts of hidden ironies. And you will discover so much about the characters. After a re-read you will have noticed only a few of the hidden meanings. After another re-read (a re-re-read) you will uncover more and more. I remeber when we studied this at GCSE level, my english teacher was frequently saying that we were uncovering points which previous groups had not.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> MY VEIW:
This is by far the best play I have read in my life, the hidden meanings add hidden depths to the play. I can read it over and over as every read gains another hiddden meaning or two. Miller has done him self proud and I sincerly recommend this to anyone who has a few moments on their hands!
I do hope that my review urges you to get it and read it. I reccomend you do!
What a pity you weren't inspired by this to delve a little more deeply into Miller's work. I would recommend The Price or The Crucible. Also you should try to see the play in its natural habitat - on stage.