The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


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The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


Death of a Salesman is centered around 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 their identity and put their futures in jeopardy.

            Willy lived everyday of his life trying to become successful, well-off salesman. His self-image that he portrayed to others was a lie and he was even able to deceive himself with it. He traveled around the country selling his merchandise and maybe when he was younger, he was able to sell a lot and everyone like him, but Willy was still stuck with this image in his head and it was the image he let everyone else know about. In truth, Willy was a senile salesman who was no longer able to work doing what he's done for a lifetime. When he reaches the point where he can no longer handle working, he doesn't realize it, he puts his life in danger as well a others just because he's pig-headed and doesn't understand that he has to give up on his dream. He complains about a lot of things that occur in everyday life, and usually he's the cause of the problems. When he has to pay for the repair bills on the fridge, he bitches a lot and bad mouths Charley for buying the one he should of bought. The car having to be repaired is only because he crashes it because he doesn't pay attention and/or is trying to commit suicide. Willy should have settled with what he had and made the best of things. He shouldn't have tied to compete with everyone and just made the best decision for him using intelligence and practicality. Many of Willy's problems were self-inflicted, the reason they were self-inflicted was because he wanted to live the American dream. If he had changed his standards or just have been content with his life, his life problems would have been limited in amount and proportion.

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"The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Dec 2017
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            Willy's problems in life were usually caused of his chase towards the American dream. Every problem he had and every upsetting or hostile moment he experienced was also inflicted upon Linda, his wife. The hell she went through everyday was because she was his wife. Linda took each day one at a time and each day was filled with stressful worrying about Willy. Imagine how she felt when she found out about Willy's suicidal tendencies, she must have tried extremely hard, as not to take it personally. Linda tried as best she could to try and help Willy, but it wasn't her fault she was not able to get through to him. Willy did not respect Linda or give her the treatment and recognition she deserved. She spent the days mending her silk stockings getting gray hair and worrying about her husbands welfare. Meanwhile Willy found companionship with numerous mistresses and gave away Linda's well-deserved stockings. Linda agrees with everything Willy says and stays content throughout the whole play. The one time she explodes is when the boys came home from the restaurant after leaving Willy alone. She shows emotion and with a little anger and hostility her true feelings.

            Biff and Happy's futures when they were small all depended on the way they were brought up. Willy was the only one with any say in the way the kids were brought up. Linda went along with whatever Willy said. Willy taught them that if they were handsome and successful, opportunity will come to you. Happy learned nothing from Willy's demise but insists that his father had "the only dream you can have- to come out number-one man". Biff and Happy idolized their father when they were young. The stories they were told made them picture their father as a popular, successful, well-known salesman. As Biff grew up, he found himself being told things about his father like "A salesman has to dream, it comes with the territory." At the end of the story when Linda says they we free, Biff is free to realize his dream of owning a ranch out West where he can live close to the natural world. Biff also realizes that his father had the wrong dreams and didn't know who he was. Biff is sure he won't make the same mistakes his father did. Meanwhile, Happy is more like his dad, determined to stay in town and prove himself to everyone. Having Biff acknowledge the dishonesty of his own life, insists on the end of their phony dream.

            Although the Loman's lives were full of many problems, the problems were not all caused by Willy striving for the American dream. Willy's problems, (that usually affected the whole family) were caused by little decisions made throughout his lives. He had a choice of whether or not to do something, he just made the wrong decision most of the time because he wanted to live the American dream. The majority of problems Willy encountered were decide upon with the idea of the American dream in mind, although the end result of the problems were not purposely meant to turn out as bad as they usually did. Willy Loman put his family through endless torture because of his search for a successful life. He should have settled with what he had and been happy. One dream is not worth all the pain and problems his caused, he should have learned to be content and, as harsh as it may be to believe, he should have realized what he could have accomplished and given up on his dream.


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