Comparing Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

Comparing Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

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Fences written by August Wilson and Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller are two plays that could be considered very different in terms of their plot. The plots of both plays contain two very different cultural backgrounds which affects each protagonist differently. If the reader or audience looks past the plot into the theme and symbolisms used they can see that the plays are more similar than they are different. In spite of the different cultural backgrounds of each protagonist they both are tragic heroes that are trying to achieve the American dream as it relates to each character; both of which fail in drastic yet similar ways. The American dream has always been an important factor in many American’s lives as it is to Troy Maxson the protagonists of Fences and to Willy Loman the protagonist of Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman and Troy Maxson are both hardworking men of different cultural backgrounds, with striking similarities in the way they try to achieve and fail to achieve the American dream of their era and die in the end without earning the respect they both feel they should have.
The protagonist of the play Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman and protagonist of the play Fences, Troy Maxson are similar in the way both men are chasing after an American Dream. Willy Loman is an insecure self-deluded salesman who believes that “to be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the American Dream” (Corruption of the "American Dream" In Death of A Salesman 124). Willy Loman also believes wholeheartedly in his misguided notion that the key to success is being “well liked” and making money (Miller 1920). What Willy Loman does not factor into his ideology of how to achieve the American dream is the value place...

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..., wealth, or love they had worked so hard their entire lives for. It is tragic that neither man realized soon enough that with the love and support of their families they so blatantly refused they could have led more productive lives.

Works Cited

Armstrong, Linda. Fences Is Fiercely Powerful. New York Amsterdam News 101.18 (2010): 17. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2012.
Corruption of the American Dream In Death of a Salesman: A Thematic Analysis Of Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman. Cross-Cultural Communication 6.3 (2010): 122-126. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2012.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed.Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford, 2008. 1908-1972. Print.
Wilson, August. Fences. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford, 2008. 2025-2072. Print.

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