American Dream in "Death of a Salesman"5507 words - 22 pages AbstractAmerican Dream is a term used by modern Americans to signify success in life as a result of hard work. There are lots of reasons why people need such a term and try to apply it in their life; the Industrial Revolution is one of the great forces that developed the American Dream. In modern times, the American Dream is seen as a possible accomplishment, as all children can go to school and get an education; it is freedom, personal rights and economic growth. However, people have difficulty in applying this term in real life. The United States has been criticized for failing to live up to the ideals that American Dream requires. However with each character in Death of a Salesman,... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death of a Salesman - The Pursuit of the American Dream1218 words - 5 pages The Pursuit of the 'American Dream'Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is a tragic play about Willy Loman's pursuit of the 'American Dream.' This dream is the dream of wealth and success. The author's main character, Willy Loman, is a traveling salesman that spends his whole lifetime trying to find success based on looks and popularity. Willy Loman is a product of this ever-increasing society. This society is obsessed with measuring success by popularity and material wealth. Having this obsession, Willy unfortunately emphasizes these principles upon his family. Because... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream Conspiracy in Death of a Salesman1747 words - 7 pages Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of the failure of a salesman, Willy Loman. Although not all Americans are salesmen, most of us share Willy’s dream of success. We are all partners in the American Dream and parties to the conspiracy of silence surrounding the fact that failures must outnumber successes.(Samantaray, 2014) Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen. The result is the anti-hero, Willy Loman. He is a simple salesman who constantly aspires to become 'great'. Nevertheless, Willy has a waning career as a salesman and is an aging man who considers himself to be a failure but is incapable of consciously admitting it. As a... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream and Death of a Salesman987 words - 4 pages The American Dream is one of the most sought-after things in the United States, even though it is rarely, if ever, achieved. According to historian Matthew Warshauer, the vision of the American Dream has changed dramatically over time. In his 2003 essay “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream”, Warshauer claims that the American Dream had gone from becoming wealthy by working hard and earning money, to getting rich quickly and easily. He attributes this change to television game shows, state lotteries, and compensation lawsuits. He also argues that most Americans are more concerned with easy money than hard-earned money, and that Americans care mostly about... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman819 words - 3 pages The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman The American Dream ~ for many, it is the unlocked door that leads to happiness. It is the hope for a future filled with success and fortune. Although most people have a similar idea of what the American Dream is, they may have different ideas on how to achieve it. For Willy Loman, a struggling salesman, achieving this dream would be a major accomplishment. Unfortunately, his unusual ideas of how this dream can be achieved prevent him from reaching his goal. Out of all of Willy’s unusual ideas, one major pattern we can notice is how Willy truly believes that popularity and physical appearance are what make... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Death of a Salesman2454 words - 10 pages "The American Dream" is based on the 'Declaration of IndependenceÂ´: 'We believe that all men are born with these inalienable rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Â´ (Thomas Jefferson, 1776). This 'dreamÂ´ consists of a genuine and determined belief that in America, all things are possible to all men, regardless of birth or wealth; you work hard enough you will achieve anything. However, Miller says people have been 'ultimately misguidedÂ´. The origins of the American Dream seem to have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the 18th and 19th century immigrants, most of whom came to America because of a promise of a new and better... VIEW DOCUMENT
Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream1223 words - 5 pages Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman and Edward Albee’s The American Dream, Willy Lowman and Mommy possess the trait of superficiality. Their priorities are to look good and be liked, and this contributes to their misguided paths to reach success. This attribute is one of many societal criticisms pointed out by both authors. Arthur Miller criticizes society for perceiving success as being liked and having good looks. He illustrates society’s perception through Willy, who thinks the keys to success are being popular and attractive. Willy transmits this philosophy to his sons by ignoring their education and personal growth and... VIEW DOCUMENT
The Jagged Edges of a Shattered American Dream in Death of a Salesman1993 words - 8 pages The American dream is an ideal for all Americans to get the best out of life. It stands for an easy and comfortable life, which makes you independent and your own boss. Historically, the American dream meant a promise of freedom and opportunity, offering the chance of riches even to those who start with nothing. This is something that Arthur Miller conveys in his play Death of a Salesman. Before the Depression, an optimistic America offered the alluring promise of success and riches. Willy Loman, Millers main character suffers from his disenchantment with the American dream, for it fails him and his son. In some ways, Willy and his older son Biff seem... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream: A Conflict essay of "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons"1269 words - 5 pages "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons" are centered around one man trying to attain the American dream. Few will deny that Americans are keenly focused on the quest for money. The American Dream is the belief that through hard work, courage, and willpower one could attain a better life for oneself and family, more often than not through financial wealth. The difficult part is, once attained, the methods and knowledge need to be passed from one generation to the next to assure this dream is maintained. To add to this difficulty, neither son finds their father's knowledge or career inspiring.One of the main differences between "Death of a Salesman" (DOS) and "All My Sons" (AMS) is... VIEW DOCUMENT
Destruction of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman824 words - 3 pages Destruction of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman A white picket fence surrounds the tangible icons of the American Dreams in the middle 1900's: a mortgage, an automobile, a kitchen appliance paid for on the monthly - installment - plan, and a silver trophy representative of high school football triumph. A pathetic tale examining the consequences of man's harmartias, Arthur Miller's "Death of A Salesman" satisfies many, but not all, of the essential elements of a tragedy. Reality peels away the thin layers of Willy Loman's American Dream; a dream built on a lifetime of poor choices and false values. Although the characters are not of noble birth nor possess a... VIEW DOCUMENT
Willie Loman’s Corrupted View of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman1075 words - 4 pages What is the American Dream? Is it fame? Is it fortune? President Franklin Roosevelt explained the American Dream as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. (AAC) I think that the American Dream is different for everyone. It is simply the urge for a better life. The American Dream is still valid but is totally different from what it used to be. For the early immigrants the American Dream was a better life not with material goods, but by freedom. Freedom to worship whoever they want. Freedom to say whatever they want without fear of being arrested or shot. (AAC) This Dream stayed with America untill the 1900’s. That’s when things started... VIEW DOCUMENT
Willy Lowman’s Tragic Misinterpretation of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman1176 words - 5 pages Barack Obama made history by being elected President of the United States, twice. This is just one more example that the American Dream is without a doubt achievable. Its pursuit is not easy; it requires undeniable hard work, modesty and optimism. Armed with these characteristics, seekers of this lifestyle will undeniably succeed. Success, though, is an interesting concept, for it can entail many superficial qualities. Willy Loman, the tragic hero of the play Death of a Salesman, sees only the superficial qualities of this dream. He views success solely as likeability (linked with attractiveness), and wealth. Ignoring all methods to honorably achieve these, Arthur Miller demonstrates how... VIEW DOCUMENT
The Failure of the American Dream in "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller.1207 words - 5 pages All people -- from millionaires with mansions living on the hilltops to the poor and unhealthy bums living on the streets -- have one goal: to reach their fullest ability, or achieve their American Dream. The above examples are the extremes of an American system in which wealth and status decide your friends, future, and well-being. Personally, I think the American Dream is to attain the status that you desire -- whether it is social prosperity or affluence. Everyone's definition is different with the American dream as it can be viewed from many different aspects; if you were born poor, it would be to reach a decent life, but if you were well-off, your American Dream would differ from the... VIEW DOCUMENT
Elusive American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath1151 words - 5 pages The Elusive American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath The American dream of success through hard work and of unlimited opportunity in a vast country actually started before America was officially America, before the colonists broke away from England and established an independent country. That dream has endured and flourished for hundreds of years; as a result, American writers naturally turn to it for subject matter, theme, and structure. In examining its lure and promise, they often find, not surprisingly, that for those who fall short, failure can be devastating because material success is a part of our cultural expectations. Americans are... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Analysis of how it relates to the American Dream.1461 words - 6 pages Death of a Salesmen by Arthur Miller, one of America's leading playwrights of the twentieth century was written in 1949. This play describes the conflicts within the Loham family to succeed in Willy Lohman' idea of the "American Dream". Willy Lohman's distorted mind believes that success is measured by your wealth and by the number of people that like you. In fact, Willy indicates that the number of people that like you is demonstrated by the number of people that know your name in each town or city and the number of people that attend your funeral. This superficial and materialistic view of the... VIEW DOCUMENT
Myths of the American Dream Exposed in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman841 words - 3 pages Myths of the American Dream Exposed in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Willy Loman, the lead character of Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, believes in "the myths of the capitalistic society"(DiYanni 412). This essay will examine the impact of the capitalistic myths on Willy Lowman. Willy believes in the myth that popularity and physical appearance are the keys that unlock the door to the “American Dream”. We are first introduced to the importance of popularity and physical appearance when Willy is speaking to his wife, Linda, about their son Biff. “Biff Loman is lost,” says Willy. “In the greatest country in the world, a young man with such personal... VIEW DOCUMENT
Mythical American Dream Challenged in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman988 words - 4 pages Mythical American Dream Challenged in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman challenges the American dream. Before the Depression, an optimistic America offered the alluring promise of success and riches. Willy Loman suffers from his disenchantment with the American dream, for it fails him and his son. In some ways, Willy and Biff seem trapped in a transitional period of American history. Willy, now sixty-three, carried out a large part of his career during the Depression and World War II. The promise of success that entranced him in the optimistic 1920's was broken by the harsh economic realities of the 1930's. The unprecedented prosperity of the... VIEW DOCUMENT
American Dream Derailed in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman1704 words - 7 pages The American dream originated when immigrants came to America searching for new opportunities and a better life. In the early 1900’s all people could do is dream; however, those dreams gave many different meanings to the phrase “American dream”, and for the most part, wealth and hard work play a very large role in the pursuit of “the dream”. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, and Arthur Miller’s drama, Death of a Salesman, both protagonists, Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman, are convinced that the way to achieve a better life is by living the “American dream”. However, the dream does not end up successfully for these two characters. In fact, their ideals and hopes of rising to... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Death Of A Salesman, by Arthur Miller1032 words - 4 pages Success: Accomplishing Your Dream Completing the "American Dream" is a controversial issue. The American Dream can be defined as having a nice car, maybe two or three of them, having a beautiful, healthy family, making an impact on the world, or even just having extra spending money when the bills are paid. In the play "Death Of A Salesman," by Arthur Miller, the "American Dream" deals with prosperity, status, and being immortalized. Willy Loman, a hard worker aged to his sixties never accomplished this goal. He always talked the talked, but never achieved to walk the walk. Willy Loman would always talk about who he's met and how he has always well known and liked, but... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in "Death of a Salesman" and "Seize the Day"1174 words - 5 pages In today’s society the term “American Dream” is perceived as being successful and usually that’s associated with being rich or financially sound. People follow this idea their entire life and usually never stop to think if they are happy on this road to success. Most will live through thick and thin with this idealization of the “American Dream” usually leading to unhappiness, depression and even suicide. The individual is confused by society’s portrayal of the individuals who have supposedly reached the nirvana of the “American Dream”. In the play “Death of a Salesman” Willy thinks that if a person has the right personality and he is well liked it’s easy to achieve success rather than hard... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby1295 words - 5 pages Since Columbus made land, people have been searching for the “American Dream”. Many people have their own idea and ideas that have changed over a period of time, but what exactly is the “American Dream” defined as .Origins of the dream have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the eighteenth and nineteenth century immigrants, most who came to America because of a promise for a new and better life. The American Dream was sought through hard work and determination. After the time of the World Wars, society changed and so did the view of the “American Dream”, it changed from a potential reality into being a dream. People were striving to reach their definition of the American Dream. ... VIEW DOCUMENT
Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman821 words - 3 pages Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman For most, the American Dream is a sure fire shot at true happiness. It represents hope for a successful, fortune-filled future. Though most agree on the meaning of the American Dream, few follow the same path to achieving it. For struggling salesman Willy Loman, achieving this dream would mean a completely fulfilled existence. Unfortunately, Willy's simplistic ideas on how to accomplish his goal are what ultimately prevent him from reaching it. Out of all of Willy's simplistic ideals, one major pattern we can notice is how Willy truly believes that popularity and physical appearance are... VIEW DOCUMENT
Willy's Obsession with the American Dream in Death of a Salesman875 words - 4 pages In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman we see the negative effect of having an absent parent. The main character Willy Loman is a salesman who constantly struggles with trying to be what he considers “successful,” and “well liked.” He has two sons Biff and Happy and is married to Linda. Willy also struggles between illusion and reality; he has trouble defining and distinguishing the past from the present. Between his financial struggles and not feeling like he accomplished anything, he commits suicide. Throughout Willy’s life he was constantly abandoned, by both his father and his brother at very young age. Since Willy has no reference to look up to, he is somewhat left to figure things out... VIEW DOCUMENT
A Comparison of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun1533 words - 6 pages The Value of a Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun How does one value a dream? This question arises while reading both Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Although the two novels are very different, the stories and characters share many likenesses. Death of a Salesman concerns a family’s difficulty in dealing with unrealized dreams. A Raisin in the Sun focuses on a family's struggle to agree on a common dream. In each of these stories, there are conflicts between the dreams that each character is struggling to attain. In Death of a Salesman, Happy and Biff are uncertain of where they are in... VIEW DOCUMENT
Comparing the American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun3570 words - 14 pages Comparing the Destructive American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun America is a land of dreamers. From the time of the Spanish conquistadors coming in search of gold and everlasting youth, there has been a mystique about the land to which Amerigo Vespucci gave his name. To the Puritans who settled its northeast, it was to be the site of their “city upon a hill” (Winthrop 2). They gave their home the name New England, to signify their hope for a new beginning. Generations of immigrants followed, each a dreamer bringing his own hopes and aspirations to the green shores. The quest was given a name – the American Dream; and through the ages,... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman2733 words - 11 pages Centuries ago, Americans were fighting for their freedom from Britain. Then, the American dream was to have freedom. To American then, being free and having their own individual country was enough. Up until a few decades ago, African Americans were fighting to have equal rights. They thought this was all they needed and they would be truly happy. Somewhere over the course of time; happiness had a new meaning for all Americans. Now material possessions are what it takes to be happy. The American dream is to be rich. A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, and Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, both address the American Dream. Both plays discuss the desire for... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald1239 words - 5 pages The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald In a majority of literature written in the 20th century, the theme of the ' American Dream" has been a prevalent theme. This dream affects the plot and characters of many novels, and in some books, the intent of the author is to illustrate the reality of the American Dream. However, there is no one definition of the American Dream. Is it the right to pursue your hearts wish, to have freedom to do whatever makes one happy? Or is it the materialistic dream prevalent in the 50's, and portrayed in such movies as Little Shop of Horrors? Or is the American Dream a thought so... VIEW DOCUMENT
"The Lowan's and a Dream" Talks about the Lowan family in Death of the salesman by arthur miller. and the american dream1014 words - 4 pages Death of a Salesman is centred on one man trying to reach the American dream and taking his family along for the ride. The Loman's lives from beginning to end is a troubling story based on trying to become successful, or at least happy? Throughout their lives they encounter many problems and the end result is a tragic death caused by stupidity and the need to succeed. During his life Willy Loman caused his wife great pain by living a life not realizing what he could and couldn't do. Linda lived sad and pathetic days supporting Willy's unreachable goals. Being brought up in this world caused his children to lose... VIEW DOCUMENT
A Critiscm on the Corruption of the American Dream, using the works of Fitzgeralds' The Great Gatsby and Miller's Death of a Salesman3200 words - 13 pages "You see for me, America is an idea. It's that capacity to dream and then try to pull it off, if you can." (Bharati Mukeriee). The American Dream has become an idealistic way to live ones life. The American Dream has been a long-standing idea that in America all is possible. An idea that through the accumulation of wealth will come happiness. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. The American Dream as it stands has become corrupted. Since, the main goal of the American dream is to reach a monetary goal, people have abandoned the normal pursuits to reach this because they feel that reaching the ultimate goal is the final step, and they are more then happy, to take illicit paths to... VIEW DOCUMENT
The Jagged Edges of a Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman1791 words - 7 pages Exploring the Jagged Edges of a Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in a success-driven society. Willy Loman represents all American men that have striven for success but, instead, have reaped failure in its most bitter form. Arthur Miller's tragic drama is a probing portrait of the typical American male psyche portraying an extreme craving for success and superior status. Death of Salesman follows the decline of a man into lunacy and the subsequent effect this has on those around him, particularly his family. Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen. The result is the... VIEW DOCUMENT
A Comparison of the Dream in Death of a Salesman, Ellis Island, and America and I1451 words - 6 pages The Dream in Death of a Salesman, Ellis Island, and America and I The American dream is as varied as the people who populate America. The play The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the poem "Ellis Island" by Joseph Bruchac, and the poem "America and I" by Anzia Yezierska illustrate different perspectives of the American dream. All three authors show some lines of thought on what the freedom inherent in the American dream means. The authors clarify distinct ideas on the means to achieving the American dream. The authors also elucidate some different goals striven for in the dream for a better life. Diverse ideas on how freedom plays into the American dream, what... VIEW DOCUMENT
A Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller2856 words - 11 pages A Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic path, which eventually leads to Willy Loman's suicide. Death of a Salesman?is?a search for identity, [Willy?s] attempt to be a man according to the frontier tradition in which he was raised, and a failure to achieve that identity because in  and in [Brooklyn] that identity cannot be achieved. (Gross 321) Willy is a symbolic icon of the failing American; he represents those that have striven for success in society, but, in struggling to do so, have instead achieved failure in the most bitter... VIEW DOCUMENT
The American Dream (discussion of the problems that arose when trying to reach the American Dream, based on three films, "Citizen Kane", "Grapes of Wrath", and "Death of a Salesman.")2912 words - 12 pages If you are an American and if you have a family, a house and a car, a sufficient job with a good salary, you can be said to have reached the American Dream. The idea of the American Dream became popular when millions of people immigrated to America in search of a better life because America was the ideal image of success. At that time, a better life could mean a decent place to live, maybe some livestock and a piece of land to cultivate. The meaning of the American Dream means even now somewhat the same; have valuable possessions, a social life with high standards and respectful image of ones self. This came about through honesty, hard work, and determination, that anyone who was willing... VIEW DOCUMENT
Failure of the America Dream in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman1110 words - 4 pages Failure of the America Dream in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman examines Willy Lowman’s struggle to hold on to his American Dream that is quickly slipping from his grasp. As Americans, we are all partners in the “dream” and Willy’s failure causes each of us anxiety since most of us can readily identify with Willy. Most Americans can readily identify with Willy. As children, our minds are filled with a “marketing orientation” as soon as we are able to be propped-up in front of the television. This orientation drives us to attempt to become the person that others desire us to be. In this society we all feel, more or less, that we must... VIEW DOCUMENT
"The Jagged Edges of a Shattered Dream" Going into detail about Arthur millers characters and text in Death of the salesman.1732 words - 7 pages Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic trajectory, which eventually leads to his suicide. Willy Loman is a symbolic icon of the failing America; he represents those that have striven for the success but, in struggling to do so, have instead achieved failure in its most bitter form. Arthur Miller's tragic drama is a probing portrait of the typical American psyche portraying an extreme craving for success and superior status in a world otherwise fruitless. To some extent, therefore, Death of Salesman is concerned with the 'jagged... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death of a Salesman482 words - 2 pages Death of a Salesman From the outset death of a salesman portrays the pitfalls of the American dream. The dream centred on the high chance that anyone can strike it rich in this Land of opportunity. Even in 1950s USA people were still taking a chance on this myth. Death of a Salesman shows the traps of the dream. The failures centred on poor Willy Loman This fine line between making it and become your average Joe becomes heavily apparent when Willy decides he has had enough and kills himself. Willy begins to believe that [In a thick American accent] "No man needs a little salary." Willy perceives himself lower than everybody else partly due to his low wages. One of his great... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman616 words - 2 pages The American Dream is the hope of being wealthy, successful, and having many friends. The American Dream represents the hope of every American; everyone would like to be rich and successful. Not many people achieve this dream because of all the demands that come with it. The American Dream is physically and mentally demanding. The cost of achieving it is great, a person must work hard all of the time to achieve such a great dream. In "Death of a Salesman"� by Arthur Miller the main character Willy Loman tries to... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman713 words - 3 pages Death of a Salesman Review Since the beginning of time, dreams have always been perceived as visions of hope, and fulfillment to one's greatest desires. In times of trouble and despair, the safe environment of a dream shields one's mind for the dangers of the real world. However, in reality, there is one dream that many people in the world strive towards. Mostly influenced by the gold and land rush in the nineteenth-century, the idea of getting rich fast has been categorized as the "American dream."� Within the play, Death of a Salesman, one hopeful man dares to take on the challenge of trying to... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman1207 words - 5 pages Megan Pinnock Mrs. Mirenda Eleventh Year English 25 April 2001 The Significance of Plants and Trees in Death of a Salesman When one thinks of trees and plants, one might get the image of something that is growing, tangible, independent, and flourishing. In Death of a Salesman the images of trees and plants... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death of a Salesman634 words - 3 pages Death of a Salesman Death of a salesman is a play written by Arthur Miller and it is about a man and essentially his failed attempt at the American Dream. This story is an example of a tragedy and the title basically sort of gives that away. Basically this story is about Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman) and his family. Willy is a traveling salesmen and he has some personal flaws in his life which range from things such as cheating on his wife and his inability to tell the truth. Ultimately this story is a sad one and it covers Willy and his family failed attempt to reach success. The story begins with Willy arriving home from a business trip. He is disappointed because the trip did not go... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death of a Salesman1640 words - 7 pages Death of a salesman The Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller is a controversial play of a typical American family and their desire to live the American dream “Rather than a tragedy or failure as the play is often described. Death of a Salesman dramatizes a failure of [that] dream” (Cohn 51). The story is told through the delusional eyes and mind of Willy Loman, a traveling salesman of 34 years, whose fantasy world of lies eventually causes him to suffer an emotional breakdown. Willy’s wife, Linda, loves and supports Willy despite all his problems, and continually believes in his success and that of their no good lazy sons, Biff and Happy. The play takes place in 1942, in Willy and... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman - 651 words651 words - 3 pages Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman tells the story of a middle-class, traveling salesman named Willy Loman as he deals with his skewed views of success and pursuit of wealth. He believes that success comes form being well liked, and has instilled these believes in his sons. Both Willy's and society's misplaced values are exposed at his Requiem in which there is nobody in attendance except his immediate family.The decision to call Willy's passing a Requiem is very significant. As defined by the World Book Dictionary, a requiem is... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman - 2153 words2153 words - 9 pages Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, epitomizes the triviality of agonizing to achieve recognition according to the values of the capitalist system. The American dream is embedded deeply in the capitalist system. This dream of wealth and power drives individuals with an insatiable desire to pursue these goals however remote their chance of success. Only a selected few can reach the pinnacle of 'success.' The majority is left in awe and continues to strive towards their unreachable dream. Yet, perhaps these dreams are intrinsic to the human condition. It is not just capitalism that motivates... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman:1096 words - 4 pages How Willy Loman fits the definition of Arthur Miller's common man, How Linda is both the savior and destroyer of Willy, and how Willy relates to Jay Gatsby 1. In Arthur Millers essay, Tragedy and the Common Man, he argues that the common man is just as appropriate as a subject for tragedy as people of noble status and higher ranks are. Willy Loman fits the definition of the common man as a tragic hero in Arthur Millers essay in several different senses. First, Arthur Miller states that the common man must have emotional problems. This statement fits Willy because... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death of a Salesman1834 words - 7 pages Death Of A SalesmanThe play "Death Of A Salesman" , the brainchild of Arthur Miller wastransformed and fitted to the movie screen in the year 1986. The playitself is set in the house of Willy Loman, and tells the melancholy storyof a salesman whom is in deep financial trouble, and the only... VIEW DOCUMENT
Death Of A Salesman American Dream Essay Examples
In the light of critical opinions discuss Miller’s exploration of the American Dream in Death of A Salesman in relation to the characters of Willy and Biff Loman. Focus upon the ideas of success and failure within the American Dream in relation to Miller’s portrayal of Willy’s idolisation of Biff and the effect this has on Biff’s life.
The term ‘The American Dream’ by its very nature is an unrealistic phrase. The use of the word dream reflects the fact that although it is an aspirational concept it may not actually be achieved by the majority of the American population. Some may argue that it is a dream born of a system, which aims to exploit the hardworking people of America. In his critique of Death of A Salesman Leonard Moss states ‘Is he (Miller) not attacking in short, a system that is geared to exploit the common man?’? There are clearly instances within the play where the writer suggests it is impossible for Willy to achieve the dream. Although the concept of the American Dream is thought to result in equality amongst a nation of immigrants, it may be perceived as being dictatorial. This is because it is telling Americans how to live their lives and although one objective of the American Dream may be to achieve freedom, it may in actual fact be oppressing those in pursuit of it.
The American Dream is explored throughout Death of A Salesman. Willy deludes himself into thinking that the American Dream is easy to obtain and will result in success for him. He believes that it will all come to him easily and that he is deserving of it. But realistically, he pins his hopes on the American Dream so much that it is the reason behind his demise. Willy’s faith in the American Dream remains strong although his own son confronts him with reality by saying “Will you take that dream and burn it before something happens?” (Page 102 Act 2). As one critic states, ‘the play romanticizes the rural-agarian dream but does not make it genuinely available to Willy’?. This implies that the American Dream has a purpose to lure Americans into a false sense of security believing that they can achieve the American Dream and financial success. This can be seen in the play as Willy fully believes in the concept of the American Dream but he doesn’t have any hope of achieving it. The play focuses on the American Dream and emphasizes what is perceived as success. Biff describes his desire to work in the country and be free “We don’t belong in this nuthouse of a city! We should be mixing cement on some open plain…” (Page 43 Act 1) whereas Willy’s perception of success leads him to believe that he will automatically receive fame and fortune through commercial success. In contrast Biff wishes to live a simple life like that of the pioneer figure in the American Dream myth.
This brings us to ask another question: What can be defined as success in the American Dream? For some it could mean that hard work and endurance results in financial security, acceptance and quality. The idea of success is very ambiguous as it could have different meanings to the individuals who want to achieve it as their lives are individual to them. ‘The whole life of the Loman family is dominated by this man’s idea of ‘success”?. Willy is in constant pursuit of the American Dream. Willy believes as long as he appears confident he will be liked by other people and that they will be buying into him as opposed to his products “Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead!” (Page 20 Act 1). He bases his work ethic on a successful salesman who had many people come to his funeral as he was very popular. However, at Willy’s funeral, he proves to be almost entirely friendless. Willy has deluded himself into thinking that he is so popular and well liked but it is suggested that self interest in society prevents emotional attachments.
A key example of success is Ben. Willy is living in Ben’s shadow as he is the successful brother. He had the opportunity to go to Alaska with Ben but declined to stay in America. Ben was part of a team that discovered diamonds in the jungle and consequently earnt a fortune from this. Biff wants to soul search and find his place in society, but at the age of 34 he has not yet done so. Although, as a child, Biff appears to be popular and successful he finds that he cannot conform to society and is still trying to find somewhere he fits in. Biff challenges his father’s expectations of him by asking “Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be?” (Page 99 Act 2). Miller is perhaps suggesting that economic instability results in the repression of individuality.
Willy pins all his hopes on Biff. ‘Willy Loman suddenly sees how deeply his own son could care for him. This discovery pushes him to the final extreme of his illusion, crying out: ‘That boy – that boy is going to be magnificent!’ and: “Ben, he’ll worship me for it!”‘?. He spots the potential in Biff and then begins to live his failed dreams through Biff. He puts a lot of pressure on Biff to succeed. This damages their relationship and may also have resulted in Biffs kleptomaniac tendencies (possibly a sign of rebellion). Biff initially appears to be the all American boy who is capable of achieving the American Dream but the play shows how the most promising of people can ultimately turn out to be nothing in life
‘Richard J. Foster states ‘Biff, who in the play as an amplification of reflection of Willy’s problems, has been nurtured on Willy’s dreams too. But he has been forced to see the truth”?. Willy idolised Biff when he was a child as he seemingly had everything and the potential in life to succeed. Willy tries to make himself a better person by making Biff successful. Subconsciously, Willy has realised that he has failed in life and will not achieve the American Dream, yet he fails to publically admit this; both to himself and his family. Biff is able to see that neither he nor Willy can achieve the American Dream and tries to let Willy know this indirectly “Biff realizes Willy had the wrong dreams. In accepting the truth about his father, Biff is able to make a decision about his future based on a realistic view of his capabilities”?. He rebels from his father’s ideals of success and ways of life and this could possible be a way in which he is trying to tell his father that they cannot achieve the American Dream.
The theme of unconditional support between father and son is explored in the play. “The character of Willy Loman is the “the little salesman with a pathetic belief in his worthless son”?. As Willy is living his dreams through Biff, his love for Biff is great. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get Biff to accomplish something in life. When Biff is failing in Maths, Willy encourages him to cheat, and this represents the lengths that Willy would go to, to help Biff. “That’s because he likes you. If somebody else took that ball there’d be an uproar” (Page 17 Act 1). Willy almost encourages Biff’s bad behaviour and excuses it because of his popularity. Willy’s father left him when he was a child. Moreover, he left no money or legacy to be passed onto Willy and Ben. This may have been the point in Willy’s life in which he began to suffer a social injustice as he felt determined to make something of himself to pass onto further generations to free them from the hardship that he suffered. As Willy does not achieve this Biff is his last hope of having success associated with him. Because his father left him as a child with nothing, he is determined to get Biff to achieve something so that the Loman name is held with high regard. The name Loman is somewhat ironic as its individual components are ‘low-man’. This is significant in the play as it represents the common man and someone of low status who may be stereotyped as being unsuccessful in life and will amount to nothing.
The lack of success and achievements in Willy’s life have resulted in shifts between the past and present in his mind. The shifts between past and present represent a time when Willy’s life was promising and the American Dream was attainable. They also symbolize the irrational state of Willy’s mind. He is stuck in the past as it comforts him in times of trouble. He reminisces over, what seemed to be, his prime as both a salesman and a father. When the play is performed, it appears to be very rational and realistic when Willy walks through a wall for example, and this signifies how real these shifts are in Willy’s mind. They show the irrational mental state of Willy. Willy is confused about where he is going in life and his mind is in a state of confusion.
The shifts between past and present may indicate his inability to cope with his life in the present and moreover may be a way for him to escape his troubles in the present day. ‘Willy is the dreamy salesman whose imagination is much larger than his sales ability’? and this relates to the shifts between past and present. His imagination may lead him to a world in which he has no fears and feels that his life is fulfilling. In contrast to this, the language he uses is very simplistic. Willy expresses himself through statements and clichï¿½s that are repeated so frequently that they border on monotonous with one example being “I’ll make it all up to you Linda, I’ll -” (Page 25, Act 1) The shifts also reveal the truth, which is not distorted by Willy’s perceptions of events. This is a key aspect in the play as the rest of the play is influenced by Willy or Biff’s take on events. The shifts between past and present are an example of expressionism in which Miller explores the psychological state of Willy.
A number of motifs are present in the play which are used to represent American materialism. One of which are the stockings. When Willy has a flashback into the past he is with The Woman who he has bought new stockings for. However, in the present Linda is mending her stockings. This epitomizes Willy’s inability to provide for his family. An additional motif demonstrating the same point is the fridge. The use of both of these points shows that Willy has been stripped of his masculinity.
The flute is used extremely effectively as an expressionist device in Death of A Salesman. It expresses the mood of the play at a particular moment. At the start of the play “A melody is heard, played upon a flute” (Page 1 Act 1). The flute gives a feeling of spring and optimism, generally a joyous tone. There is a sharp contrast between the innocence of the initial melody and the description of Willy’s house which is overshadowed by “an angry glow of orange” (Page 1, Act 1). The flute is significant in the play as it focuses on stages in Willy’s life and notifies the audience of the nature of the scene. The audience is informed that Willy’s absent father played the flute and at this point “new music is heard, a high rollicking tune”. This might imply that Willy’s father was a happy go lucky salesman and it lays emphasis on the fact that Willy is not, adding to his many insecurities. The flute is quite sombre/sinister towards the end of the play. Willy commits suicide “as the car speeds off the music crashes down in a frenzy of sound which becomes the soft pulsation of a single cello string” (Page 105, Act 2).
The final concept to consider is failure in the American Dream. Is the individual or the system to blame for the failure of the American Dream? It could be argued that if the individual is gullible enough to be taken in by the American Dream, they have no-one to blame but themselves if they fail. Failure in the American Dream may represent the naivety of the American population. ‘The system is not the one to blame; Willy can only blame himself for not becoming what he wanted to be’?. This supports the idea that the American Dream exists but it can only be achieved if the individual adapts the American Dream to their life and is willing to work hard to achieve it.
Denial plays a key part in Willy’s lack of success in achieving the American Dream. He refuses to acknowledge that he is a failure. An example of this in the play is where Willy says that he’ll buy a new tape recorder (like the one Howard has) even though he is fully aware that he has no money to pay for it. “The Loman’s have unrealistic ideas of success. To Willy, the foundation of success is not education or hard work but rather ‘who you know and the smile on your face’?. Willy is a proud man who doesn’t want others to perceive him as a failure, as this would force him to confront reality, whereas he prefers to live in a world where he conceals his problems and keeps a false pretence that everything is fine. Biff, like Willy, ignores aspects of reality that do not fit in with his ideals “You’re a – you’re an idealist!” (Page 11 Act 1). Some may argue that the system is to blame but ultimately he creates his own destiny. Faith in the system motivated him throughout his life but towards the end it left him “tired to the death” (Page 2 Act 1)
Craig M. Garrison The System and the American Dream *DEATH OF
A Salesman* (Online) http://playwrites.net/salesman1.html
Bamber Gascoigne (1962) Twentieth Century Drama. Hutchinson &Co.
K. Linderholm (1995) The American Dream. (Online)