The script of Death of a Salesman
appears to be flawed. During the course of the play a fat, philandering, and dishonest creature, Willy Loman, stumbles through life. In doing so he cheats on his caring wife, prioritizes the life of his eldest son, is disillusioned about the world around him, works harder then most of us will ever have to, and stops making enough money to support his family.
Time and time again Broadway
, the theatre that will only produce a play if is almost sure to make money, has revisited the script and usually to wonderful reviews. Broadway has produced the play on four different accounts
. During 1949 Lee J. Cobb
starred as Willy Loman. In 1975 George C. Scott
and Harvey Keitel
starred as Willy Loman
and Biff Loman respectively
. In 1984 Dustin Hoffman
and a young John Malkovich
played the parts of Willy Loman and Biff Loman respectively. With the 1984 version a movie was produced which adapted the style of the theater rather well. Finally in 1998 Brian Dennehy starred as Willy Loman, and once again receieved wonderful reviews.
The reason, I believe, that Death of a Salesman receives so much acclaim
is that it is about a sympathetic
character who represents an often misconstrued concept. Willy Loman
is the essence
of the American Dream
. He represents
that we all strive
. He is a tragic hero
designed to show Americans, in particular, how people are flawed. Even though we may all be flawed we must not constantly strive for false hopes
, ones that are away from true happiness. It is something that Americans can truly relate to, as could most capatalist culture
s. The problem with the script today is that it is outdated. Some references to particular brands or ideas people would not recognize.
Scripts cannot be entirely interpreted by being read. A script
by definition is meant to be preformed, it is written for the stage. Furthermore, each time a play is performed it is done so differently. A well done version of Death of a Salesman will make the audience feel bad about Willy dying. Likewise a poorly done rendition of the play will make the audience feel that Willy deserved to die. Though, the idea that one of these versions is "good" and the other is "bad" is an opinion. I imagine that Arthur Miller
wished Willy Loman
to be a sympathetic character, for it gives the play more meaning.
"The fat, philandering, dishonest creature that is Willy Loman." -christ