A Foolish American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


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A Foolish American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


      Willy Loman is responsible for his own downfall.  Willy finds his

own hero and tries to become the hero in his own existence.  Willy tries to

become a very successful businessman, at the start of his career he thinks

that no one can tell him what to.  Willy is not good with people, he is

good with his hands, he is not a good salesman and he chooses the wrong

career.  Willy often makes up stories or changes the stories he knows

because he cannot face the truth of his life that he has not accomplished

as much as he has planned.  Willy's downfall is his own doing which is

brought about by his unrealistic dreams, his pride, his career choice and

his failure to manage life's problems.


      Willy, at a young age, noticed an old salesman who worked at an age

of 80 and made a lot of money. The old salesman took orders from no one, he

made his own orders and everyone did as the old man said.  When the old

salesman, Dave Singleman dies, all the buyers came to his funeral. All the

people Dave ever knew came.  There were thousands mourning his death.  From

that point, Willy Loman found an awesome dream which he followed the rest

of his life.  Willy became a salesman.  Willy is the most unqualified

salesman ever!  He never sold a thing.  Willy stops seeing the truth at one

point of his life and he relies on his own lies to numb his pain. The pain

of knowing he cannot and wont be able to become Dave Singleman.  He is

Willy Loman, who is good at fixing the house.  He is not cut out for

travelling from city to city and selling goods to people he has never met

before.  Willy dramatically dies living out his dream, the dream that never

suited Willy Loman.

      Willy does not allow people to tell him what to do.  He believes

that he cannot be bossed around and that he is too important to fall under

anyone's authority but his own.  Willy teaches Biff and Happy not to take

orders from anyone.  He thinks this will make Biff, Happy and himself

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"A Foolish American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman." 123HelpMe.com. 11 Dec 2017
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successful, but it is in fact a major contribution to Willies failure.

Willy did not become a "Big Shot" meaning he did not become important to

the field of retail.  Willy thought he was a "big shot" when he was not and

this must have made people angry because he is not liked by many people.

People have to earn their importance.  They cannot just be important

overnight.  This lack of status contributes to his co-workers disrespect.


      Willy accomplishes less when he works compared to working and

staying at home.  Willy fixed up his house with great skill and ease.

Willy's family appreciates the things Willy does for the house and the

family.  They share many happy memories of him working on the house.  Willy

is suited at a job that requires hard labour rather than being a salesman.

Biff says in the novel that Willy puts more work in the house than he ever

did at work.  This is not true because Willy paid off the house because of

his job but in a sense it is true because Willy put his whole life into

being a salesman and if he put his life into being a carpenter he probably

would have accomplished much more than just paying off the house. Thus

manual labour brought Willy enjoyment but he rejected it in his pursuit of

the American Dream.

      Willy Makes up stories or changes stories because his life so

uninteresting.  He is not doing anything with his life and this depresses

Willy.  He often says that he will take care of the problem first thing in

the morning.  When Willy wakes up he intentionally forgets about all his

problems and goes on with his life.  These problems accumulate until Willy

loses control. Willy ends up killing himself because of the overwhelming

amount of lingering problems.


      Willy Loman thinks he is an important figure but in reality he is

an ordinary person.  Willy cannot take orders from anyone and this does not

allow him to gain respect from others.  Willy chooses the wrong career and

does not accomplish much during his life because of his poor career choice.

Willy Also never faces the truth and blocks out his problems until there

are too numerous to handle.  These four reasons show that Willy is

responsible for his own downfall and ruins his and his families lives.


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