Death of a Salesman is a tragedy. The play can also be termed a social commentary and a family drama.


The play is written in the present tense.


The tone of Arthur Miller’s stage directions and dialogue ranges from sincere to parodying. But, in general, the treatment is tender—though at times brutally honest—toward Willy’s plight


Willy Loman and Biff Loman are the protagonists of Death of a Salesman.


The antagonists of the play are Biff Loman, Willy Loman, and the American Dream.

Setting (Time)

“Today,” that is, the present—either the late 1940s or the time period in which the play is being produced, with “daydreams” into Willy’s past. All of the action takes place during a 24-hour period between Monday night and Tuesday night, except the “Requiem,” which takes place, presumably, a few days after Willy’s funeral.

Setting Place

According to the play’s stage directions, “Willy Loman’s house and yard [in Brooklyn] and...various places he visits in...New York and Boston.”


The climax of Death of a Salesman is the scene in Frank’s Chop House and Biff’s final confrontation with Willy at home.

Falling Action

The “Requiem” section is the falling action, although the play is not really structured as a classical drama.