Death Of A Salesman Book Vs Movie Essay

Death of a Salesman Film/Drama Comparison

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Arthur Miller has been considered a leading American playwright for ages. His ability to create dramatic plots involving political and moral issues made him famous for plays like Death as a Salesman. But can such greatness achieved through plays also be achieved through film? It is a rarity when a movie based on a book or play follows closely to the plot intended, and it’s even more of a rarity when the tone, mood, and characters of that book or play are channeled precisely as the author intended.

The movie version of Death as a Salesman closely correlates with the play, but along with every other play-turned-movie, differences are apparent. Many of the actors chosen for roles in the movie seem to fit Miller’s portrayal of the characters. However, in the play, Willy Loman is portrayed as a man of considerable size even being called “walrus” at one time, while in the film he is much smaller and is called “shrimp”.

Although Dustin Hoffman depicts the character of Willy Loman well, he gets so enthralled in the heat of the scene that it sometimes makes the audience wonder if Miller intended for Willy to be so dramatic and emotional. At times it’s overwhelming and even difficult to understand what Hoffman is saying. A problem with converting plays or books to motion picture is one can’t see pictures that go along with text (as in a book). The mind must create its own pictures of what is being described.

The portrayal of Linda Loman on screen was completely different than what I had imagined her to be as while I was reading. As far as plot goes, the storyline was almost exactly the same in the movie and the play. Some scenes were interchanged, but not so much as to disrupt the development or structure of the story. It also looks as though the director of the film purposely made it appear like the movie was taking place on a stage? probably to stay true to the fact that above all, Death of a Salesman is a play. In the play, the scenes are often accompanied by a single flute.

In the movie, the music is oftentimes more elaborate and composed of many instruments. Personally, I would rather see the play performed live on stage. I would feel more comfortable knowing that almost all the lines would be the same, and I like how in plays the actors must get their lines and emotions right the first time? there is no cutting or editing like in a movie. Although people will always be critical of books or plays turned into movies, one has to admit that seeing the film version gives a clear perception of the book? whether it’s what the author has intended or not.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman Film/Drama Comparison

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Justin Bardowski

College Credit English

December 19, 2001

Death of a Salesman;

Movie vs. Book

Death of a Salesman was both a great movie to watch and a great book to read. There were small differences, and since they are just about word for word from one another, the differences were usually just differences in the way one interpreted the book and envisioned the characters. The major difference I noticed was the way I pictured Linda and the way she was portrayed in the movie. Linda was not at all how I had imagined her to be.

While reading the book I pictured Linda as being this sweet old lady. A lady that was very humble and usually kept quiet for the most part. An ideal mother and wife. However, while watching the movie she seemed much louder and less sweet than I envisioned her. She had a pretty deep voice in the movie, and usually seemed to shout when she was talking. This deep voice and shouting tone really made her seem completely different from how I had perceived her in the book. For instance when she made the comment "Willy, go eat your cheese," I envisioned a soothing wife trying to help her husband calm him down in the book, whereas in the movie it seemed more like she was giving orders with her deep and shouting voice. While in the book I felt bad for Linda when Willy kept telling her to "shut up" or "be quiet", in the movie I didn't blame him for cursing her loud interruptions. The movie version of Linda was just completely different than I had pictured her. The director of the movie "Death of a Salesman" just perceived Linda different than I did.

When a movie script is almost word for word with the book it is portraying it is hard to find many concrete differences. Usually the only difference is the way the reader perceived the book. I imagined Linda much differently than the way the movie portrayed her. The difference between Linda in the book and Linda in the movie really changed a lot in my mind.


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