During the late 1980s and 1990s, literary criticism had undergone the revolution known as ‘high theory’ and Miller’s work was not exempt from scrutiny that had never previously been applied to it. Feminist theory, men’s issues, gender issues, Marxist approaches, language studies and biographical approaches altered the readings of the plays. Despite the dominance of new critical approaches during the 1990s, critics discussed themes and topics about Salesman and Crucible that had been explored in previous decades. However, many of these discussions were influenced by the ‘high theory’ and culture wars that dominated literary criticism in the 1980s and 1990s. Death of a Salesman: Tragedy Much debate still raged about the classification of Salesman as a modern tragedy. Stephen Barker, in his 1995 essay ‘The Crisis of Authenticity: Death of a Salesman and the Tragic Muse’, offers a complicated and exhaustive analysis grounded in his judgement that the arguments over the play’s status as a modern tragedy which can be connected to the Aristotelian definition of tragedy invite an ‘altered tragic vision’ that produces obscure and puzzling interpretations of the play. Barker suggests that Salesman is a ‘mimesis of cultural crisis’ and consequently must be seen as ‘an exemplum of the tragic vision in the twentieth century, quintessentially defining the crisis of authenticity that is the tragic’1 in the modern world.
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 1990s: New Readings
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number