Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

It’s the first complete play I’ve read in many years. I was impressed with the detailed description of the stage at the beginning of Act One – it shows that Miller knew exactly what visual props he wanted to help him tell his story. The detail of the stage set description contrasts sharply with the ambiguity of the dialogue: more often than not, two dialogues are running concurrently as Willy Lomas repeatedly flashes back to the past in reflection on the present. Throughout the text, this duality lends a frenzied feel to the action – ones eyes flick back and forth to separate and understand the different conversations.

Ultimately, Willy’s consistent delusions provoke pity, despite the obvious damage it has caused on his family. The inevitable question centres on the balance between truth and fiction, between reality and fantasy, and on the ability to imagine – a central part of being human.

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