Death of a Salesman : Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and A Requiem, Paperback

Death of a Salesman : Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and A Requiem Paperback

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Arthur Miller's extraordinary masterpiece, Death of a Salesman changed the course of modern theatre, and has lost none of its power as an examination of American life. 'A man is not an orange. You can't eat the fruit and throw the peel away' Willy Loman is on his last legs.

Failing at his job, dismayed at his the failure of his sons, Biff and Happy, to live up to his expectations, and tortured by his jealousy at the success and happiness of his neighbour Charley and his son Bernard, Willy spirals into a well of regret, reminiscence, and A scathing indictment of the ultimate failure of the American dream, and the empty pursuit of wealth and success, is a harrowing journey.

In creating Willy Loman, his destructively insecure anti-hero, Miller defined his aim as being 'to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life'.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780141182742



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

This book appeared in my wifes' library many years ago in school.It appeared in mine shortly before I was to be time in abundance when being run over by car.I work in retail and do more than my share. It has won me admirers and has been at the sacrifice of my marriage to some extent: mostly time! This was the easiest and hardest book to put down for me as it spoke to me personally about where my life could end up if I don't make better choices as to wher to spread the butter of my life. Thankyou Arthur=)

Review by
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a painful examination of the American Dream and how the pursuit of it can ultimately lead to destruction. Willy Loman, the destructively insecure protagonist, is a painfully ordinary man who makes several destructive choices and does not have a firm grip on life, frequently escaping into fantasy. His own sons conclude that Willy had the "wrong dream" and instead of being a travelling salesman, should have been a carpenter or a rustic worker. Instead his sons watch his dream and eventually his life fall apart.

Written in a manner similar to stream-of-conscious, Miller often merges the present setting of the play with events in the past only Willy can see and interact with. This is often confusing as the action shifts into the past frequently during present scenes, which reflect Willy's deteriorating mental state.

Overall then, this play does expose the emptiness of consumerism and the American Dream - pursuit of which can ruin lives physically and spiritually, yet in doing so Miller writes a deeply dark and depressing play that does little to inspire the reader, instead causing self-reflection on their own dreams.

Goodreads does not allow half-stars but the actual rating is more akin to 2½ stars.
Review by
The Basics

Willy Loman is an aging salesman who is starting to lose his grip on reality. Through the course of the play, we watch his sad collapse while his family desperately attempts to rally around him.

My Thoughts

I’m beginning to think I have a thing for books that exemplify the death of the American Dream and the victims left in its wake. While Willy Loman isn’t quite as sympathetic as someone like Jay Gatsby, you will pity him, maybe even against your will. Because there is a sad reality here that resonates, and while the high drama could in some moments be seen as melodrama to some, it all seems pertinent and proper here.

Even then, the characters being likable or pitiable isn’t so much the point. More to the point is that they are strong characters with strong voices. The dialogue read smoothly. Interactions were as natural or tense as they needed to be, and when they were tense, it was felt. The message was clear and stark, all about broken dreams and kept secrets. The kind of thing that makes a short play blow by too fast.

So I loved it. I feel it’s a classic piece of theater/literature for good reason. It’s short and engaging, and if you want to read a classic and don’t know where to start, surprisingly this would be a good place.

Final Rating


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