To the mid- 1980s, noted scholars analysing Salesman focused on the topics of salesmanship, psychology, and characterization. This period also produced works by major scholars who offered comprehensive approaches to Miller and his entire oeuvre, with extensive analysis of Salesman. In addition, ethnic criticism considered how Miller’s upbringing as a Jew influenced the play. Salesmanship In Chapter 1, we saw how, immediately after the premiere of Salesman, considerable controversy raged as to whether the play was a critique of capitalism that depicted Willy Loman as a failed businessman. We saw that Howard Fuller, the president of the Fuller Brush Company, wrote an endorsement of Willy Loman because, to Fuller, salesmen functioned as a crucial part of the US economy and thus embodied the true spirit of American society. In the ensuing years, a substantial amount of criticism has revolved around consideration of Willy’s success or failure as a salesman and how other issues of salesmanship such as business, law, and economics operate in the play. Although Fuller’s judgement is overly positive, most critics take a realistic stance in showing how salesmanship issues make a decidedly negative contribution to Willy’s personal, family and social conflicts. For example, the literary and theatre critic Harold Clurman, whose focus on the American Dream I discussed in the previous chapter, judged that the very notion of salesmanship has distorted the original ethic of the American Dream.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The 1980s: Salesman – Salesmanship, Psychology, Ethnicity
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number