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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman versus The Prince When

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An Analysis of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and The Price When people accept an ideal to live by it can be a glorious and noble thing unless they become so obsessed wi the the ideal that it becomes a yolk and they are unable to realize their dream.. This is especially true for two characters in Arthur Miller's plays Death of a Salesman and The Price. In these two plays Miller portays two lower-middle class men , Willie Loman and Victor Franz, respectivelly, who each live by an ideal that ultimately is self-defeating. Willie lived to pursue the American dream rather than living the American dream and Victor lived to serve and be decent rather than living a noble and decent life. They pursed their ideal rather than living it and thus they are unable to succeed. Willie Loman, in Death of a Salesman,, has lived his life in pursuit of the American dream. Traditionally the American dream meant oppurtunity and freedom for all, and Willie believed that. However, hard work could not earn him everything that he wanted or thoght he deserved. Willy judged himsel and those around him by theit material accumulation, as is demanded by capitalism and the protestant work ethic. The ethic demands accumulation and work as signs of favor in the eyes of god. Thus in order to please god and himself he had to accumulate wealth and objects. The consumer oriented society in which Willy lives will not allow him to live the American Dream. Willy is fascinated by accumulating things. His desire fior goods makes him want objects that he neither needed nor could afford. Willy thinks that he needs to buy his wife a new refrigerator and new stockings even though she is content with what they have. As he tries to live the American dream he venerates those who have been successful at doing so, l ike Thomas Edison, B.F. Goodrich, and Ben, his successful brother. Furetheremore he punished those who did not work towards that ideal or accomplish it ,such as Biff, his son, and most importantly himself. The extreme to which he followed the dream brought him to disallusionment and lose sense of reality. Willy created a reality for himself where he "knocked 'em cold in Providence," and "slaughtered 'em in Boston."(p.33) The ultimate result of his disallusionment is his suicide. It is ironic that he dies for his ideals although they are misconstrued.
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