A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. The curtain rises. Before us is the Salesman’s house. We are aware of towering, angular shapes behind it, surrounding it on all sides. Only the blue light of the sky falls upon the house and forestage; the surrounding area shows an angry glow of orange.

– Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman, Act 1. Even before a character enters or speaks, we are introduced to some of the important themes and figures of speech in these stage directions, the first words of the play. Music is heard and flute is personified, as it tells of a pastoral and idyllic scene of grass and trees. This sets a peaceful tone. When the curtain rises, the house of salesman Willy Loman is revealed. Having a home of one’s own is one of the most frequently cited examples of having attained the American Dream. But the Loman dream and home appear to be under threat. The city has encroached on the house, now surrounded on all sides by towering skyscrapers, suggesting that Willy is trapped in his big dreams. The "angry glow of orange" contrasts with the image of the blue sky, creating an unsettling atmosphere and foreshadowing future events. The color orange is personified here. The passage’s theme of nature vs city symbolizes the conflict within Willy. His love of the great outdoors competes with his salesman’s dream of finding prosperity and building success in the artificial and materialistic world of the city.