The international fame and huge stage success came to Arthur Miller after the performance of his play “Death of a Salesman”, which has got a Pulitzer Prize. In this play, the past and present, the real time and the illusions of the character are entwined. The main plot lasts approximately 24 hours. The main character – Willy Lomen – is a very complicated person. The author shows a lot of problems of the hero. His personal and professional downfall is caused by his desire for the misleading ideals. His problem is based on the loneliness and tiredness of work. In addition to that a disappointment of the life of his son is driving Willy crazy.
The biggest and the most difficult problem are his relationships in the family, especially the relationship with his sons, Biff and Happy. First of all, he has a conflict with his wife because of their son. Willy shows his disrespect to his faithful wife many times. When she talks to him, it seems that they are recently married, and she is still hopelessly in love with him. On the other hand, when he talks it becomes obvious how hard their life and his work are. He is arguing with her because she is trying to justify their son for achieving nothing in his age.
Willy argues with his son because of son’s life. He is still dreaming that his older son will work in the commercial sector and will achieve a huge success because of his charm. However, his son was dreaming about another life. He got it. He traveled far away from home and worked on a farm. Though, Biff still was not successful in that sphere. Perhaps the problem was not in the field of working. May be Biff just did not want to become a successful man. After the explanation that Biff, cannot find himself, the only what his father can say is asking, “How can he find himself on a farm?” So he came home, and he saw what was going on with his father. He pities him, but he protects his mother, when the father is screaming at her. Biff even confesses that he does not love his father, but anyway he decides to stay here and work.
Howard, Willy’s boss, is probably oriented on the younger personnel, and he does not want to have such an old man with problems in his firm. Willy falls down and begs Howard to give him any job in New York, and he explains that he is too old for driving all the time. Every time his begging becomes softer; from the request of sixty dollars per week, he goes down to forty, which probably would be enough, as he desperately says.
His neighbor and a friend Charley, offers Willy a job where he will get 50 dollars a week, and he does not have to drive at all. Willy does not understand the benefit of the Charley’s offer. He maintains that he has a job and does not need any job offers. Willy calls him “disgusting”, but Charley is not. They argue but that brings no result. After his dismissal, Willy needs money, and he comes to Charley to ask for them, Charley gives them just from respect.
Willy has a talk with Bernard, a school friend of his son, and Bernard shows him that Willy is guilty about his son’s life because he self told Biff not to study math and continue play football. Bernard explains that the opinion that the success depends only on charm is a wrong one. This argument is one of the hardest for Willy.
The main conflict in his life is the conflict with the life itself. He has problems with the acceptation of reality. The life gives him this challenge because it may want to show him how wrong was his attitude to life. He cannot find the proper solution for all of these problems, so he solves it by committing the suicide in order his family could get insurance money and save themselves from the financial ruin.
The emotional mood of the play varies from the comic to the tragic and gives an opportunity for variety discussions and appraisal. This play can be interpreted as the social one, as the psychological and the philosophical. The most important is that it opens a question about the global human problem of the sense of life, shows the perniciousness of any illusions which are in conflict with reality.