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The Jagged Edges of a Shattered American Dream in Death of a Salesman Essay

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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 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 1950's remained far in the future.

Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in
the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic route that
eventually leads to his suicide. Loman is a symbolic icon of the
failing America; he represents those that have striven for 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 mind portraying an extreme craving for success and
superior status in a world otherwise unproductive. To some extent,
therefore, Death of Salesman evokes the decline of a man into lunacy
and the subsequent effect this...


... middle of paper ...


... worthwhile, I believe that he even thought that his own seeds, his
children, did not grow into the men that he wanted them to be, so
therefore his life is a waste of space in his "garden"

Miller's intention in writing about the death of a salesman, a
seemingly ordinary occurrence in twentieth-century society, was to
express the playwright's own vision of American Society and the nature
of individuality. Death of a Salesman is the failing America and the
'jagged edges of a shattered dream' but it also demonstrates Miller's
belief that 'the "common man is as apt a subject for tragedy as kings
are".[6]



[1] Homework-online/Death of a salesman.

[2] Craig. M. Garrison.

[3] http://www.revision-notes.co.uk/revision/16.html

[4] Craig M Garrison

[5] Craig M Garrison

[6] Tragedy and the Common Man


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