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Lander, J. (1950). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 19:621.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:621

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Joseph Lander

February 28, 1950. DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Gregory Zilboorg, M.D.

Dr. Zilboorg examines the play with particular emphasis on its social theme. Its success on Broadway, despite its running counter to the usual formulæ for successful plays, is attributed to the role of Willy Loman's wife, with her 'extraordinary, strongly maternal, object-libidinous attitude toward life and people'. Others in the play present only negative and destructive objects for identification, being egocentric, narcissistic, pseudo-living. Dr. Zilboorgs looks on Willy Loman as 'the quintessence of the major libidinous motivation of our civilization: the acquisitive motive', which has become the measure of success. In our culture, men are not judged by what they are and what they do but by what impression they make and how much charm they exude.

Dr. Jacob A. Arlow's discussion centered principally around methodology in the study of works of art. He stressed the examination of the artist's (playwright's) motivations, and referred to the recurrent theme of paternal death and father-son rivalry in two other plays by Arthur Miller. Dr. Rudolph M. Loewenstein discussed the essential elements of individual human tragedy, and felt that the problem of the individual rather than of the culture deserved more emphasis.

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