Death of a Salesman Audio Cassette – Feb 1991
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Arthur Miller's 1949 Death of a Salesman has sold 11 million copies, and Willy Loman didn't make all those sales on a smile and a shoeshine. This play is the genuine article--it's got the goods on the human condition, all packed into a day in the life of one self-deluded, self-promoting, self-defeating soul. It's a sturdy bridge between kitchen-sink realism and spectral abstraction, the facts of particular hard times and universal themes. As Christopher Bigsby's mildly interesting afterword in this 50th-anniversary edition points out (as does Miller in his memoir, Timebends), Willy is closely based on the playwright's sad, absurd salesman uncle, Manny. But of course Miller made Manny into Everyman, and gave him the name of the crime commissioner Lohmann in Fritz Lang's angst-ridden 1932 Nazi parable, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse.
The tragedy of Loman the all-American dreamer and loser works eternally, on the page as on the stage. A lot of plays made history around 1949, but none have stepped out of history into the classic canon as Salesman has. Great as it was, Tennessee Williams's work can't be revived as vividly as this play still is, all over the world. (This edition has edifying pictures of Lee J. Cobb's 1949 and Brian Dennehy's 1999 performances.) It connects Aristotle, The Great Gatsby, On the Waterfront, David Mamet, and the archetypal American movie antihero. It even transcends its author's tragic flaw of pious preachiness (which undoes his snoozy The Crucible, unfortunately his most-produced play).
No doubt you've seen Willy Loman's story at least once. It's still worth reading. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This 50th-anniversary edition of Miller's masterpiece, which certainly is a contender for the finest American drama of the 20th century, includes the full text of the play, a chronology of its productions, photos from various stagings including the current Broadway revival, and a new preface by Miller himself, all in a quality hardcover for a reasonable price. Bravo, Penguin.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Willy Loman, 60, has been working as a salesman for many years. The company that he has been working for has taken him off a salary and placed him on commission. He hasn't been able to sell anything and is resorting to borrowing money from his only friend. His two children, Biff and Happy, are unable to help Willy pay for his mortgage and expenses. Willy feels that it his duty to provide for his family, and being unable to do so lowers his manliness.
What has happened to Biff and Happy that has made them as they are as adults? How will Willy, who is seeing hallucinations, react to his loss of manliness? How did growing up without a father or brother affect Willy? What are Willy's motives for what he does? Does Willy's belief in success as a result of being well-liked work? What dreams do the two brothers choose to follow in the end? What does `free' mean in the ending?
And towards the top of that list was Death of a Salesman.
The play by Arthur Miller premiered in 1949 and became an immediate sensation, winning a Pulitzer and a Tony. It has been revived multiple times all over, adapted into movies, and staged as live television. Quite often done by big name stars of great caliber. Critics have hailed it as a masterpiece and a play that transformed theatre.
With this really impressive resume behind Death of a Salesman, my want to finally read this classic became a goal this 2015.
And the result for me was a large meh. Unfortunately.
Death of a Salesman tells the tale of one Willy Loman. He is an older man, beaten down by life and hating it all. His wife is devoted but his two grown sons are going nowhere very quickly and back to living at home. Even the slight saving grace of having the mortgage almost paid off barely quells Willy.
The man hates his long time sales job and how things have not been going well for awhile now. He continuously hallucinates, much to his family’s dismay, of the greater time when the boys were younger and everything felt perfect.
Willy keeps wondering when it all went wrong, why others are more successful, and how to fix, to his mind, his ungrateful kids. Make them launch into the world and do things Papa can be proud of.
But of course things just keep going wrong. And wrong some more.
So with a spoiler for 1949, yes Willy Loman does die in the end.
I had many problems with Death of a Salesman that made it difficult for me to even finish.Read more ›
When Arthur Miller wrote this, he was trying to give a view into the business world. He was trying to show America as whole just how cruel the business world had gotten, how it would chew you up and spit you out when it was through with you, and how things had gotten very cold. This was shown in the scene with Willy Lowman getting fired. One thing he screams is," You can't eat an orange and throw the peel away! A man is not a piece of fruit!". This is so true, but it is also how the business world treats people.
Miller also shed some light on how a man had more duties to his family than just to put bread on the table and a roof over their heads, how sometimes they needed a husband and a dad more than anything. After all, Willy worked his whole life to provide his sons with clothes and food and things, but in the end, what they could really have used was a dad at home more often to teach them morals and work ethic. Biff and Happy had trouble finding themselves in life because from the time they were young, Willy had worked very hard to give them everything, they hadn't had to go out and get it themselves. All Willy ever taught them was to be liked, and that that was enough to get you through. This backfired on the two boys when they hit the real world and found out it wasn't enough just to be liked; you had to have more.
Personally, I learned that living your whole life on what others think of you can only lead you to feeling empty.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I have heard so many good things about it they are all true! Classic! would die to do this on stage one day!Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Only reason to have bought this book - required reading for my son's grade 12 English class.Published 9 months ago by Patrick Peard
The characters are one dimensional. The plot is weaved with self pity. The story has no real purpose. It's a bit disheartening hearing the praise it has gotten trough the years. Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2011 by Melanie
This play blew me away when I read it some ten years ago. And the same thing happened when I saw it on Broadway as a revival many years ago. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2005 by Starkweather,
This play blew me away when I read it some ten years ago. And the same thing happend when I saw it on Broadway as a revival many years ago. Read morePublished on May 24 2004
Money and materialism are strong themes in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman". One gets a real sense of this from beginning to end. Read morePublished on March 25 2004 by I ain't no porn writer
Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" has become a repudiation of socialism/communism. Miller intended the play as anti-capitalist propaganda, but failed. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by Rex Curry
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