Preview
Preview

Willy Lowman’s Tragic Misinterpretation of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman

No Works Cited
Length: 1178 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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 Willy’s search for the superficial qualities of the American Dream lead him to his own despair.

To begin, Willy’s methods of searching for likeability are erroneous. He believes that the superficiality of attractiveness goes hand in hand with being well liked. Willy’s downfall started with his impression of Dave Singleman, an 84 year old salesman. According to Willy, he had “…the greatest career a man could want.” Sure this man was liked in cities around the world, but Willy’s altered perception of the American dream masked the realities of his life. Willy failed to see that instead of being retired at 84, Dave Singleman was unwed, still working, and in the end “dies the death of a salesman”; alone and without love. Believing in this dream, ultimately leads Willy to his hubris; too proud to be anything but a salesman. Throughout the play, Charlie often asks Willy, “You want a job?” Instead of escaping his reality of unpaid bills and unhappiness, Willy’s shallow values lead him to refuse the switch from him attractive job, to that of a carpent...


... middle of paper ...


...y equals achievement. Willy’s values have made his children just as unhappy as he is. After everything, Willy has in the end installed his own contradictory ideas into his children.

In brief, it is apparent that Willy’s own actions led to not only his own demise, but his children’s as well. The salesman tragically misinterpreted the American Dream for only the superficial qualities of beauty, likeability and prosperity. Perhaps if Willy had been more focused on the truth of a person’s character, rather than purely physical aspects, his family’s struggles and his own suicide could have been avoided. On the whole, Arthur Miller’s play is evidence that the search for any dream or goal is not as easy and the end result may seem. The only way to realize the objective without any despair is the opposite of Willy Loman’s methods: genuineness, perseverance and humility.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Importance of A Dream in Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller - To have a fulfilling life, one must have a dream. However, with the wrong dream, even a fulfilling life is not a happy one. For example in the play, Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, the protagonist, Willy Loman, dreams of becoming a respected and successful salesman. However, Willy Loman dreams the wrong dream and as a result its leads to his tragic demise. This is evident through Willy’s dream being unrealistic, Biff's troubles due to Willy instilling his dream into him, Willy's pride resulting from his dream, and the illusion that Willy’s dream creates....   [tags: illusion, willy, wrong dream] 1261 words
(3.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Presentation of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - The Presentation of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy Loman is presented as both a tragic hero and an unconscious victim in "Death of a Salesman". "Death of a Salesman" is very much based upon the American Dream, and whether we are slaves or conquerors of this dream. This is an idea that the playwright Arthur Miller has very passionately pursued both through Willy's own eyes, and through his interaction with the different characters in the play. Firstly, the definitions of a hero and a victim very much influence the way that Willy is viewed by the audience....   [tags: Papers Willy Loman Death Salesman] 2041 words
(5.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Willy Loman as Tragic Hero of Death of a Salesman Essay - Willy Loman as Tragic Hero of Death of a Salesman     Willy Loman, the title character of the play, Death of Salesman, exhibits all the characteristics of a modern tragic hero. This essay will support this thesis by drawing on examples from Medea by Euripedes, Poetics by Aristotle, Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, while comments by Moss, Gordon, and Nourse reinforce the thesis.             Death of Salesman, by Arthur Miller, fits the characteristics of classic tragedy....   [tags: Death Salesman essays Arthur Miller]
:: 7 Works Cited
1530 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Willy Loman - A Tragic Hero - In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the author conveys the reader about how a person lives his life when he or she cannot live the “American Dream.” Willy Loman, the main character in the play is a confused and tragic character. He is a man who is struggling to hold onto what morality he has left in a changing society that no longer values the ideals he grew up to believe in. Even though the society he lives in can be blamed for much of his misfortune, he must also be the blame for his bad judgment, disloyalty and his foolish pride....   [tags: Character Analysis] 747 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Within the tragic play, Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman destroys himself trying to achieve a dream. Yet, the dream that destroys Willy is not one that he has chosen. Willy Loman does not choose this destructive dream because he does not know himself, Willy Loman does not choose a dream at all, one is forced upon him by society. Willy Loman spends the expanse of the play trying to achieve wealth, fame, and the like of others. These ideas epitomize the American Dream, to become a successful, well-liked businessman....   [tags: Death of a Salesman] 478 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: Willy Loman is NOT a Tragic Hero - Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: Willy Loman is NOT a Tragic Hero In The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, it is argued weather that Willy Loman is a tragic hero. There are cases for both classifications of Willy. By definition, a tragic hero is a person born into nobility, is responsible for their own fate, endowed with a tragic flaw, and doomed to make a serious error in judgment. The tragic hero eventually falls from great esteem. They realize they have made an irreversible mistake, faces death with honor, and dies tragically....   [tags: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller] 984 words
(2.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Death of a Salesman is the story of Willy Loman, a middle-class salesman who, in the course of a single day, comes to realize that the American Dream, which he has pursued for 40 years, has failed him. Willy's relentless, but naive pursuit of success has not only affected his sense of his own worth but has dominated the lives of his wife Linda and his sons Biff and Happy. In the course of the play he realizes his true position in life, and in a final attempt to secure his personal dignity and provide a future for his sons through his life insurance, he commits suicide....   [tags: Death of a Salesman]
:: 1 Works Cited
571 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman   Short Essay One     Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman focuses on the American Dream, or at least Willie Loman’s version of it. *Willie is a salesman who is down on his luck. He "bought into" the belief in the American Dream, and much of the hardship in his life was a result. *Many people believe in the American Dream and its role in shaping people’s success. Willy could have been successful, but something went wrong. He raised his sons to believe in the American Dream, and neither of them turned out to be successful either....   [tags: Death of a Salesman] 671 words
(1.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Willy Loman's Depression in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay - Willy Loman's Depression in Death of a Salesman   Arthur Miller's, "Death of a Salesman," shows the development and structure that leads up to the suicide of a tragic hero, Willy Loman. The author describes how an American dreamer can lose his self-worth by many negative situations that occur throughout his life. The structure and complications are essential because it describes how a man can lose his way when depression takes over. The first comlication which occurs in Act I, is when the reader acknowledges that Willy put his whole life into his sons, Biff and Happy, and they turned their backs on him....   [tags: Death Salesman essays] 631 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Tragic Hero Essay examples - Willy Loman, the main character in Death of a Salesman is a complex and fascinating tragic character. He is a man struggling to hold onto what dignity he has left in a changing society that no longer values the ideals he grew up to believe in. While society can be blamed for much of his misfortune, he must also be blamed himself to an equal extent for his bad judgement, disloyalty and his foolish pride. Willy Loman is a firm believer in the "American Dream:" the notion that any man can rise from humble beginnings to greatness....   [tags: Death of a Salesman Character Analysis Willy Loman] 1190 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]