The American Dream is a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success. It is the belief that, no matter how poor you begin life, you can achieve upward social mobility for your family and children. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, crushes the ethos of the American Dream. Miller’s ability to portray this delusional idea through the life and relationships of Willy Loman, a typical, low income American, is exquisite. America, in 1949, was experiencing an economic boom, and Miller precisely shows the effect of this on the “normal” individuals and families in the population, through Willy and his family. The play altogether should not be viewed in parts and pieces, but as an equivocal whole, in which the life, and death, of Willy shows the faulty components of this so called “American dream”.
“Personal magnetism, making an impression, having contacts, being well liked; these make up the “secret” of success. But, curiously, Willy does not like himself. (Ferguson).” Throughout the entire play, Willy does nothing but preach to his sons, Biff and Happy, that in order to be successful, you must be well-liked, know everyone, and, more importantly, have everyone know you. Willy, however, follows none of these components of the success ladder. The truly sad part is, he knows this. Willy Loman is "caught-up" in this American Dream. It causes business to develop in the world. Capitalism and also the profit motive and competitive instinct makes Willy have a wea...
... middle of paper ...
...ived a lot of acclaimed attention and is noted by many to have an excellent interpretation of the American dream. The play accurately shows through Willy Loman, his life, and his death, the true vision of the American dream in relation to the time period.
Cummings, Michael. "Death of a Salesman." Free Study Guides for Shakespeare and Other Authors. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May. 2015.
Ferguson, Alfred. Major Dramatists. PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Print.
Heyen, William. “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and the American Dream.” Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 47-58.
Miller, Arthur. "Tragedy and the Common Man." New York Times 27 Feb. 1949: 3. Web. 14 May. 2015.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- "The American Dream" is based on the 'Declaration of IndependenceÂ´: 'We believe that all men are born with these inalienable rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Â´ (Thomas Jefferson, 1776). This 'dreamÂ´ consists of a genuine and determined belief that in America, all things are possible to all men, regardless of birth or wealth; you work hard enough you will achieve anything. However, Miller says people have been 'ultimately misguidedÂ´. The origins of the American Dream seem to have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the 18th and 19th century immigrants, most of whom came to America because of a promise of a new and better life.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
1563 words (4.5 pages)
- Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman For most, the American Dream is a sure fire shot at true happiness. It represents hope for a successful, fortune-filled future. Though most agree on the meaning of the American Dream, few follow the same path to achieving it. For struggling salesman Willy Loman, achieving this dream would mean a completely fulfilled existence. Unfortunately, Willy's simplistic ideas on how to accomplish his goal are what ultimately prevent him from reaching it.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
814 words (2.3 pages)
- For many, the “American Dream” is the hope for a future filled with success and fortune. Although many may share the idea of the American Dream, each person has a different perception of what is necessary to achieve this goal. Willy Loman, the lead character of Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, believes that popularity and physical appearance are the keys that unlock the door to the “American Dream”. We are first introduced to the importance of popularity and physical appearance when Willy is speaking to his wife, Linda, about their son Biff. “Biff Loman is lost,” says Willy. “In the greatest country in the world, a young man with such personal attractiveness gets lost.” I... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
727 words (2.1 pages)
- Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of the failure of a salesman, Willy Loman. Although not all Americans are salesmen, most of us share Willy’s dream of success. We are all partners in the American Dream and parties to the conspiracy of silence surrounding the fact that failures must outnumber successes.(Samantaray, 2014) Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen. The result is the anti-hero, Willy Loman. He is a simple salesman who constantly aspires to become 'great'.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
1739 words (5 pages)
- Any way that you state it, an American dream is a never-ending cycle of idealism. In other words, the yearning to be better than the best and to achieve perfect governmental harmony throughout society. Think about it though, if this were a possibility, wouldn’t it have already occurred. The first character seen directly acknowledging the emptiness of the American dream was the overlooked Loman brother, Happy. Happy, although suffering from “younger-brother syndrome” and lack of fatherly attention, proved to be the only successful family member of all the Lomans.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
977 words (2.8 pages)
- The Dysfunctional American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller In the American society, it is thought that if you work hard, no matter what circumstances, you can become rich and powerful. You can overcome deep poverty to become the richest man alive. This superhuman absurdity is what is referred to as the "American Dream." Day after day, Americans struggle to achieve fame and prosperity, only to find failure and heartbreak. The American Dream in today's society is dead and is proven several times through plays, poetry, and essays.... [tags: Death of a Salesman Essays]
1222 words (3.5 pages)
- Success: Accomplishing Your Dream Completing the "American Dream" is a controversial issue. The American Dream can be defined as having a nice car, maybe two or three of them, having a beautiful, healthy family, making an impact on the world, or even just having extra spending money when the bills are paid. In the play "Death Of A Salesman," by Arthur Miller, the "American Dream" deals with prosperity, status, and being immortalized. Willy Loman, a hard worker aged to his sixties never accomplished this goal.... [tags: Death Of A Salesman Essays]
979 words (2.8 pages)
- Achieving the American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy Loman is a man on a mission. His purpose in life is to achieve a false sense of the "American Dream," but is this what Willy Loman really wants. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller analyzes the American Dream by portraying to us a few days in the life of a washed up salesman named Willy Loman. The American Dream is a definite goal of many people, meaning something different to everyone. Willy's version is different from most people though; his is based more on being well-liked and achieving monetary successes rather than achieving something that will make him happy.... [tags: Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller Essays]
1202 words (3.4 pages)
- The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Material happiness provides the ambition behind seeking the "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman ." In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman's determination to live up to his "American Dream" and to seek material happiness only takes his life. What is the "American Dream". The "American Dream" cannot be defined. I know that my "American Dream" consists of a Porsche, a large house, and a happy family. Willy Loman's definition does not differ greatly from mine although while trying to pursue this dream, Willy's mind slowly drifted further and further away from reality.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
456 words (1.3 pages)
- 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)