Death of a Salesman Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

This lesson plan for Death of a Salesman focuses on some of the darker sides of the American Dream. Themes of McCarthyism and materialism play out as a revered member of the family acts as a symbol of decline.

Lesson Objectives

After this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • summarize the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  • list the play's key characters
  • identify themes present in the play
  • analyze the character development and how this development relates to theme


  • 40 minutes plus 45 minutes for the activity

Curriculum Standards


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

Key Terms

  • American Dream
  • Materialism


NOTE: This lesson is designed for students who have read the play. Adjustments will be needed for classes who have not read the play in its entirety.

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