Compare And Contrast Side Of Salesman And Death Of A Salesman

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Two Sides of the Same Coin Everyone has their own interpretation of the American Dream. In his play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller juxtaposes the efforts that his characters have gone through to achieve their respective dreams, including, for example, the titular character Willy Loman’s strenuous pursuit of a misguided dream against his brother Ben Loman’s lucky break. First, Ben Loman is the successful Dreamer, having achieved his fortune via the atypical rags-to-riches style. Chasing his ambitions, however, came with some serious repercussions in the form of his younger brother Willy’s psyche. When Willy was still a toddler, Ben left him to go searching for their father in Alaska, psychologically scarring Willy to fear abandonment…show more content…
His distorted perceptions of the American Dream ultimately ruined his life and the lives of his family. Sadly, Willy definitely failed as a father. He obviously favored his eldest son Biff over his youngest son Happy, and this constant neglect drove Happy to become more like his older brother as an adult in order to win his father’s approval. We can see this through his philandering behavior, something Biff was known for in high school, the golden years. Biff, on the other hand, had it worse because his father sold him lies about his importance in the business industry, which forced Biff to admire Willy and strive to be like him one day. Willy’s consistent stroking of Biff’s ego misled Biff into thinking that he could get away with anything simply because he was “popular” and “well-liked”. However, when Biff accidentally stumbles upon his father’s adultery, his world crashes in on itself as he loses his sense of identity. He quotes, “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been” (Act II). Willy wasn’t much better with his “friends”. He hated Charley for being more affluent than him and expressed this anger when he bullies Charley over a game of cards. Charley only tolerates Willy because he pities his fate. And attempting to use his “personality” to get a job from his boss’s son Howard only gets Willy…show more content…
His brother’s influence deluded him into believing that being “well-liked” and “personally attractive” are all it takes to acquire the American Dream, not hard work and innovation. As a result, Willy sets unrealistic goals for himself. He emphasizes his image and the need for material success, as seen when he complains to Linda about the out-of-date brand of their refrigerator. The ideas of appearance and materialism corrupting the American Dream parallel some themes of The Great Gatsby. After years of chasing the wrong dream, Willy refused to admit his failure, spiraling his mentality downward as he struggles to differentiate between his dream and reality. He had the potential to become a carpenter, to do what made him happy, and he threw it away. In the end, he lied about how popular, well-liked, and good at his job he was in order to justify his suffering, and this is evidenced by the lack of people that showed up to his funeral. He truly was a “low man”. Tragically, Willy firmly held onto his misguided dream because it was all he had left, and he continued to believe in it until his inevitable
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