In the spring of 1948 Arthur Miller retreated to a log cabin in Connecticut with the first two lines of a new play already fixed in his mind. He emerged six weeks later with the final script of Death of a salesman . a painful examination of American life and consumerism. Opening on Broadway the following year, Miller's extraordinary masterpiece changed the course of modern theatre. In creating Willy Loman, his destructively insecure antihero, Miller himself defined his aim as being 'to set forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life'.