Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Review: Death of a Salesman

ARTHUR Miller's greatest play 'Death of a Salesman' is about the way the American Dream turned into a nightmare affecting all subsequent generations of the American people. Of Polish-Jewish immigrant stock, Miller spent his first impressionable 14 years watching the dream develop only to see the Wall Street Crash turn it into a nightmare, destroying family confidence and giving him the underlying theme in his writing.

Willy Loman, played with superb judgment by Harris Yulin, is the best product of that writing. His morality is based on being 'well-liked', a corrupting objective that leads to the tragic heart of the story, his son Biff's discovery that his father is a fraud. Biff, whose agony is so well expressed by Garrett Lombard, disintegrates before our eyes, while Willy's wife Linda tries desperately to maintain her faith in him. Meanwhile, the evidence of his failure mounts like piles of street trash around her. Read More...