CSUN  Wordmark
Pat Swenson, CSUN - Death of a Salesman
literature banner

Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

ProfPat's Main Page

ProfPat's Education Links

Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - Discussion Guide



Willy Loman, Biff Loman, Happy Loman, Linda Loman

Charley, Bernard, Uncle Ben, The Woman

Howard Wagner, Jenny, Stanley, Miss Forsythe and Letta


Person-against-self - an internal conflict of feelings.

Person-against-person - the typical protagonist vs. antagonist scenario.

Person-against-society - the protagonist battles against the larger organizations of society
(or a system of beliefs held by society).

Person-against-nature - the protagonist is threatened by a component of nature.


Themes: The American Dream, Abandonment, Betrayal, Idealism vs. Realism

Symbols: Seeds, Diamonds, Stockings, The Rubber Hose

Motifs: Heroes and Mythic Figures, The American West, Alaska, and The African Jungle

Aspects of the Theatrical Stage Production

Use of Dramatic Questions – dramatic hooks, devices to hold the attention of the audience. (Examples include: Will he come? Who did it? Will he or she succeed?)

Subdivisions: Scene & Act Construction – effect on plot pace, tension.

Staging: The Effect of a One Stage Set

The visual/audio production as stated in the stage direction (staging, lighting, backdrop, sound effects, music, etc.)