Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - Commentary (pages 11-14)

Essay by ceyhanHigh School, 11th grade September 2004

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These are the opening pages of the play, and naturally the author Arthur Miller tries to acquaint the reader with the characters, the setting, and the mood of the play. Miller essentially emphasizes on the description of Willy Loman, who is undoubtedly the main character in the scene. Miller introduces these aspects of the play by using stage directions, music, and dialogue.

Miller starts out by explaining the way the salesman's house looks, and the mood of the play. By using 'the salesman' the reader immediately knows that the house is not owned by a wealthy person, just a 'salesman'. There are ominous apartments surrounding this 'fragile' old-fashioned house. This immediately gives the reader the feeling of claustrophobia, hostility, and anger. "The kitchen at the center seems actual enough, for there is a kitchen table with three chairs, and a refrigerator. But no other fixtures are seen."(pg 11) These stage directions add to the reader's knowledge that the house just has the essentials a house would need.

Miller sets a symbol of competition on the shelf in one of the rooms, a silver trophy (foreshadowing the future competition of Willy). Miller makes the scene mysterious and 'dreamy', by adding orange 'angry' lighting, and a simple tune of a flute, this foreshadows Willy's personality because at this point in time Willy is unknown.

After the setting and the house description ends, Willy Loman enters the scene, and the flute plays on in the background while he makes himself at home. Linda, his wife enters and they have a conversation about Willy's exhausting day. Willy tells her about his journey to and fro Yonkers. "I was driving along, you understand? And I was fine. I was even observing the scenery. You can imagine, me looking at the scenery, on the road...