Monday, August 25, 2008

Some thoughts on "Death of a Salesman."

I guess I am in a bad mood this morning. Feeling captive in an industry or a world that tries to suck out your brain, eviscerate your soul, and spit out your integrity.

Some years ago I heard an interview on NPR with Arthur Miller. He was talking about his apotheosis, Willy Loman. Here's how Miller described his creation. I quickly wrote it down and have carried it with me ever since.

"He was trying to be great without being great."

"He's a man trying to carve his name in a block of ice on a hot June summer day."

And Loman's eulogy, from the play:

"I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a don't have to be very smart to know what his trouble is. The man is exhausted...

"...He works for a company thirty-six years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away."

1 comment:

Tore Claesson said...

That was the greatness of a man like Miller, he understood. Great fortunes are built on men and women who would never be great. without the slavery of others no great fortunes amassed. Nor would most other great achievements.