Theme of Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


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Theme of Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


One of the important themes in Death of a Salesman is the nature of success. Many people believe that success is about making a lot of money. They say that with money comes happiness. However this may not always be true. In other words success is defined as the accomplishment of something that was desired. Furthermore it is about being happy, proud and secure about yourself. Although true success originates from the heart, achieving it requires hard work and determination.  In Death of a Salesman, the characters that are successful are Dave Singleman, Ben and Bernard.

Dave Singleman was a successful individual. He was an eighty-four year old salesman in the Parker House. In order to make a sale all he had to do was "pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, he made his living..." (Death of a Salesman, p81.)  This quote describes his success as a salesman. At the age of eighty four he was able to make an adequate amount of sales. Although he did not get rich from the sales that he made, he enjoyed what he was doing. As a result of his success life, he died honorably. "He died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers..." (DOS, p81.)  This example shows that he was successful right until the end. After living the life of a successful salesman he died the death of a salesman. When he died he was still wearing his green velvet slippers, which in a way symbolizes that his success is still with him. Another example that shows Dave had a successful life was at his funeral. "When he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his fune The second successful character is Willy's older brother, Ben. This man became successful by taking a risk. He "walked into the jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he's rich." (DOS, p41.) When Ben went to Africa, he found diamonds in the mines and as a result he became rich. This incident has made Ben's life successful and ever since, Willy has been regretful. If Willy was to take the risk, he too would be successful. Not only is Willy envious but he also idolizes Ben because of his success. Willy often asks Ben, "what's the secret?" (DOS, p91.) This quote proves that Willy is aware of Ben's success.

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As a result Willy want's Ben to tell him the secret to success. The real reason Ben was successful was because he had determination. "He knew what he wanted and went out and got it." (DOS, p41.) Although Willy changed his mind about going, it did not stop Ben from going. He knew what he wanted and in the end, his determination brought him success. 

   The third successful character is Bernard. In the past he was a typical nerd and nothing more than a follower. As fifteen years pass by, Bernard turns out to be a very successful individual. He has finished university and is now an important attorney.. Moreover he is "...gonna argue a case in front of the Supreme Court." (DOS, p95.) In this example one can obviously see that Bernard is successful. Being chosen to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court proves that Bernard is successful because it shows that he is at a high position in his career. Furthermore Bernard is married and has two sons, showing that he is settled. Therefore he is not only successful career wise but he also has a family to look forward to at the end of the day. Moreover, Bernard's friends are also successful. He goes to Washington "to stay with a friend who's got a court." (DOS, p91.) As a result of his hard work along the way, Bernard has earned him friends who are on the same level as him. They respect him for who he is, and u In conclusion, the three characters from Death of a Salesman that are successful are Dave Singleman, Ben and Bernard. These characters earned their success by working hard. As a result of hard work and devotion money is usually the prize. However in some cases happiness may also be a reward of success. Although success is often related to money, status, rank and fame, we must not forget that success is also emphasis on the heart, the inner being and the seed plot for  our thoughts, motives and decisions.       
  


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