Comparison Of The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman

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The American Dream in today’s society is a concept that differs for each individual. For some, it is to be rich and to have a financially stable career. For others, it may be to start a family that will carry on a legacy for generations. Even though for each this may be personalized, a constant connection that the American Dream has for all is the search for happiness. In the play Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller, the American Dream is a theme that’s interpretation varies from character to character. Thus, the life paths of Willy, Biff, and Bernard are all a result of their differences in opinions towards how to achieve the American Dream. For Willy Loman, the idea of living a successful life is done through creating a strong reputation.…show more content…
His true dream is to move out westward and tend to his own farm, his success being directly shown through the condition of his land. However, choosing this career path has earned him harsh criticism from his father, whose only wish is for Biff to be a salesman, like himself. Towards the end of the story, Biff “realize[s] what a ridiculous lie [his] whole life ha[d] been. [They’ve] been talking in a dream for fifteen years” (81). From the time he was in highschool, Biff had been conditioned by his father to believe that the only path to success is through popularity. His education was never a priority, thus resulting in him never having to work hard for anything in his life. Unfortunately, being a star football player never got him anywhere in life, it only hindered him from finding a more suitable life path. But in seeing his father’s failure, Biff has noticed that everyone has a different idea of what success is, and how to attain it. When rejected to work as a salesman for Bill Oliver, he says to his father, “I saw the things that I love in this world [...] and said to myself, [...] why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? [...] All I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am” (105). Although he has had a tough time executing it, all Biff just wants to do what makes him…show more content…
It has been instilled in him from his father that the path to happiness is through working hard and earning one’s own success. Despite his best efforts, he could not help Biff realize that he has to study sometimes and put in effort towards future happiness: “Just because he printed University of Virginia on his sneakers doesn’t mean they’ve got to graduate him” (20). Bernard sees through what Willy has been teaching his boys for their whole life. One cannot get their way in life by cheating the system and expecting to get away with it every time. Bernard is trying to teach Biff that one cannot just state they want success, and it will immediately be granted. Even though Bernard has put in years of effort towards his success, he still remains humble. When Willy speaks with him regarding his appearance in front of the Supreme Court, he says, “Oh, just a case I’ve got there, Willy” (70). Even though he has reached the highest honor a lawyer can, he keeps a modest attitude towards what he has achieved. He knows that hard work cannot be cheated and success cannot be found overnight. Bernard has worked his whole life towards becoming a lawyer and starting his own family, and people only see the results, not the
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