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No Sale

October 06, 1985

Dan O'Neill's excoriating letter against Arthur Miller (Calendar Letters, Sept. 29) and his play "Death of a Salesman" was totally uncalled for and unfounded. The old argument he chose to rehash--that Willy Loman is too trivial to support a tragedy--never did hold water. To make a claim like that, one would have to dismiss such works as "The Iceman Cometh," which is a play chock-full of nobodys who could not accept the truth.

Miller's play is one man's vision of the human condition--and Willy's failure to understand the world around him is much more common than any of us would ever admit. In fact, Willy's self-deception is not unlike someone who apparently believes that he can leave his mark in the world by taking cheap shots at a great playwright in the Letters section of The Times.

One hundred years from now, "Salesman" will still be appreciated for the great play that it is. Meanwhile, O'Neill's letter is already at the bottom of my bird cage.

MICHAEL R. BALLARD

Long Beach

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