Monday, December 5, 2011

Staying Alive

Read Death of a Salesman yesterday. Not sure exactly how many times I've read the play cover to cover - or watched it in performance - but Miller's tragedy just grows in its power for me, to the point where it's become close to unbearable in its truth.

This time round I was struck by just how despicable Willy is in his treatment of Linda, and how far Linda goes to deserve that treatment. (How exactly does she come to admire her husband? That's the word that Miller gives us.) As to how I'd managed previously to somehow ignore this pretty obvious aspect of the drama, I really don't have much of an explanation. This is very, very uncomfortable territory.

Something similar happens with The Crucible. In each case what might have been a thesis-play is transformed by the subterranean concerns of the dramatist and explodes into uncomfortable, uncontrollable life.

Oh, and something else that hit me hard this time. In a world obsessed with telling people, especially young people, to live their dreams, where does Miller's dreaming Salesman sit?

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