The Effect of Arthur Miller's Life Experiences on the Play Death of a Salesman

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The effect of Arthur Miller's life experiences on the play Death of a Salesman.

Many authors of fiction use a writing technique which draws from their own life experiences. Arthur Miller is no exception to this; he has incorporated many details and life lessons into his works. The play Death of a Salesman is one such example. Willy Loman, the play’s lead character, is affected by hopelessness, much the same as Miller’s own father must have been after the stock market crash of 1929. The family dynamic of the Lomans is based on that of his Uncle Manny Newman’s family. Miller also found that many of his own personal traits and experiences were useful in describing the character Biff Loman. In 1949, by living during the socio-economic situation left over from that of the dirty thirties, and the pressures put on individuals in the young and growing nation of United States, Arthur Miller was able to apply much of what he had witnessed in his life to the play Death of a Salesman. Arthur Miller was born in 1917. He was about 12 years old at the time of the stock market crash in 1929. Until then, his father was a successful businessman who owned a woman’s garment factory. The family owned a house in Manhattan that overlooked central park. They employed a chauffeur whose job entailed driving the kids to school. The market crash devastated the Millers and they lost nearly everything. This created tension between his parents and sent his father into a depression, in much the same way as how Willy Loman experienced his fall from dignity. There are numerous parallels between the Loman family dynamic, and Arthur Miller’s uncle Manny Newman’s family dynamic. Manny was a salesman by trade. He was surrounded by a competitive atmosphere all day while at work, and he’d even continue the competition at home by competing with his sons, Buddy and Abby. Manny’s behaviour is very much the same as how Willy Loman would interact with his own sons, Biff and Happy.

Many of the character...
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