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Did You Know

Willy's last name is a pun on "low man," and symbolizes Willy's misfortune, which makes him the lowest man in a capitalistic society, since he cannot succeed by his own initiative despite all his trying. Also, a salesman is essentially someone who sells products made by and for someone else, so Willy has never been his own boss. Willy Loman may also be labeled "American Everyman" since his unrealized hopes and delusions are prominent in many aspiring entrepreneurs.

"Death of a Salesman" is considered one of the best dramas ever written and performed for American theater, and it won the Pulitzer Prize, the Critics Circle Award, the Antoinette Perry Award, the Theatre Club Award, and the Front Page Award when it premiered in 1949. In subsequent revivals of the play in 1975, 1984, and 1999, the play won even more accolades.

Arthur Miller based Willy Loman on his own uncle, Manny Newman. Miller started writing the play in 1947 after a chance encounter he had with his uncle outside the Colonial Theatre in Boston.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Act One - Part 1
Act One - Part 2
Act One - Part 3
Act One - Part 4
Act Two - Part 1
Act Two - Part 2
Act Two - Part 3
Act Two - Part 4
Act Two - Part 5


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