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Analysis Of The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman

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Within the play Death of a Salesman, the “American Dream” is prevalent throughout its entirety. The american dream has stood as the symbol of happiness and success for multiple generations in the United States. The main character, Willy Loman, has become obsessed with the idea of achieving this sought after goal. While of course everyone would love to be able to live a life well lived, Willy takes it too far. The ideal that everyone should be able to achieve success no matter their background intrigues the titular character to the point of obsession. I believe that his fixation on “making it” in life; is what led to the psychological breakdown and eventual suicide of Willy Loman. The reader is placed in the mind of Willy multiple times throughout…show more content…
However, I believe that these flashbacks instead are Willy reminding himself of his failures in life. While the flashbacks do indeed appear joyfull at first glance, it is important to recognize the significance of what is said in them. The first flashback introduced in the play illustrates my theory beautifully. The flashback opens with Willy conversing with his sons while they toss around a football. During the conversation, Willy explains to the boys how one day he “will have his own business and never have to leave home”. This is promptly followed by Happy commenting “like Uncle Charlie”. This is where it is first shown just how ill-conceived Willy is in convincing himself and others that he is successful. Willy replies to Happy stating that he will be “bigger than uncle Charlie”. Willy supports his statement by saying that “Charlie is liked, but not well liked”. This is ironic given that Willy seems to idolize his brother all throughout the play. Charlie is shown to be the embodiment of success and more specifically, the american dream, in the eyes of Willy.…show more content…
Biff reveals that not just Willy, but all the family has been lying about their success. He begs to his father, asking him to give up on his dream of Biff being a massive success. Biff seems to accept something that Willy never could, he isn’t special. He shouts to Willy that he “is a dime a dozen and so are you”. Willy becomes infuriated at the notion that he is a common man and cries out “ I am not a dime a dozen, I am Willy Loman!” The confrontation ends with Willy weeping, realizing that Biff truly does love him. However, Biff’s efforts were in vain as Willy also exclaims “That boy is going to be magnificent”. Willy is not able to cope with the idea that both he and his son are not destined for greatness. And in his final act, he commits suicide, in an attempt to supply his son with the life insurance money. Or perhaps more importantly, to supply him with an opportunity to achieve the dream he never
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