July 23, 2009
WHEN Death of a Salesman was revived on Broadway 50 years after its celebrated debut, its director asked for help. In an effort to flesh out its frame for a contemporary audience, the play was diagnosed. Two psychiatrists offered their assessment of Willy Loman.
In each case, Loman was pronounced manic-depressive with hallucinatory aspects. Arthur Miller soon received word that this newest Loman was in therapy. The playwright was aghast. The hapless everyman, Miller said, was not a subject for psychiatric study. He was simply beaten down by life.
Loman was, and should remain, a victim of circumstances; not one of disease.