Considered one of the greatest pieces of American Literature in the twentieth century, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is truly a masterpiece. When it was released in 1949, the play won numerous awards and became the most popular show on Broadway. Since then, the play has continued to run off and on in New York, along with other prominent international cities like Berlin, London, Beijing, and Amsterdam. The play was written as a method for Arthur Miller to show the people of America what the true image of a salesman in the thirties and forties was. Not only did Miller succeed, he also opened peoples an eye to what the true American Dream is and what its faults are. The play centers mainly on Willy Loman, a salesman in his fifties. Willy has spent his entire career selling things and now it seems the customers have stopped coming. The audience first meets Willy at the start of his trouble. Willy has come home from Boston without selling hardly a thing, his son Biff has quit yet another Job, and the bills are beginning to stack up. Willy tries diligently to keep his family afloat while he desperately ponders why he has no more customers. Willy then tries to convince Biff that the only happiness he will find is in business. Biff does not want to go into business because he can see what it has done to his father, as well as his younger brother Happy, who spends most of his time drinking and indulging with prostitutes. One the most creative aspects of the play are the expressionistic devices that Miller writes into key scenes of the play. In his essay "Arthur Miller: An Overview,” Gerald Weales describes Death of a Salesman as an "example of American Expressionism in which realistic scenes are played in an anti-realistic context” (Weales 3). Through expressionism, Miller is able to portray his characters and ideas in an entirely new and exciting form of theater.
The most obvious of all of Miller's expressionistic pieces in Death of a Salesman are the characters themselves.