Death of a Salesman  

By Arthur Miller
Published by Methuen Drama

I usually carry some sort of book around with me to pass the time on a train or bus – usually I dive into a novel but recently, and rather unusually, I have been compelled to read some of Arthur Miller’s plays. Death of a Salesman wasn’t – I’m sure – on your summer reads but I found it a real joy to read and a reminder of how important Miller’s writing still is.
Methuen Drama has just released a set of Student editions that showcase Miller’s plays.

Each book has a comprehensive chronology of the author’s life and works as a very useful introduction to the context of the play, perfect to give your students a base when discussing the work. Indeed, it is the context of this play that resonates with me most – that much discussed theme of the ‘American dream’. No other work of literature (except perhaps The Great Gatsby) manages to dispel the myth of American prosperity more than Miller’s seminal work.

Willy Lowman, an ageing travelling salesman, offers a meaty piece of characterisation, perfect for dissection in class. A man haunted by dreams of money and success, Lowman’s life slowly unravels as he realises the flaws of his character and ultimately the society he lives in.

It is a sad, complex but fascinating play that remains as important now as it did when it was first staged all those years ago.

These student editions go a long way to enhance this fact rather than simply highlight the legacy of the great Arthur Miller. Essential reading.

Review by
Mark Glover