Fallacies and Distortions in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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A logical fallacy can be defined as a “flawed argument” (Kirszner and Mandell 84). It can be considered, “ a writer who inadvertently uses logical fallacies is not thinking clearly or logically…” (Kirszner and Mandell 84). In the play, Death of a Salesman, there is an assortment of situations exemplifying different kinds of logical fallacies. Cognitive distortions are also present in this play. Some of the characters in Death of a Salesman have thoughts that seem to be slightly unclear. These distortions sometimes result when people “…think in extremes…” (“Cognitive Distortions”).

In the year 1949, Arthur Miller created the play, Death of a Salesman. This is the play that made him most famous (Gioia and Kennedy 1763). “…This work is unquestionably the pinnacle of his achievement” (Gioia and Kennedy 1763). Miller wrote many additional plays, but is best known for Death of a Salesman.

Arthur Miller was born in Harlem, New York on October 17, 1915 (“Blooms Notes” 8). Miller and his family lived in upscale Harlem for the first fourteen years of his life (8). Then after a terrible stock market crash that affected the family heavily, they moved to Brooklyn, New York (8). He attended the University of Michigan where he studied playwriting (8). Besides writing plays he wrote radio scripts, and worked as a steamfitter in World War II (Gioia and Kennedy 1763). He began writing plays around 1936, but “It was the next play that secured his

reputation: Death of a Salesman…” (“Bloom’s Notes” 8). Other plays that Miller has written include The Crucible and All My Sons. He also “…published an autobiography, several volumes of essays, two collections of short stories, and two novels…” (Gioia and Ken...

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...Distortions.” Healthy 2004. 5 Feb. 2009.


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Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. The Brief Wadsworth Handbook. United States: Thompson, 2008.

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Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman”. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. Dana Gioia and X.J. Kennedy.10th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2007.

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Porter, Thomas E. “Willy Loman and the American Dream.” Readings on Death of a Salesman. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999.
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