Critical Examination Of The Death Of A Salesman

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"Death of A Salesman" is really about how reality and illusion interplay in each and everyone's personality in the context of achieving success in life. All people dream and most consider a dream as a typical example of an illusion—merely a construct of the imagination that extends past and present experiences of one's life into a realm that is not bound by logic. Reality, on the other hand, is what one directly perceives through the basic senses of perception. The world we live in today demands tangible outputs from each of us that result from skill and perseverance. Hence, success in life becomes an utmost concern. Success usually cloaks in the form of financial prosperity—the more material wealth one has, the more successful society considers him or her to be. This notion of success is what the "American Dream" stands for and this is a salient implication in the play's plot. Because success is not easy to achieve for many, it becomes a priceless "commodity." Success becomes every person's dream or illusion. Some people respond to such a dream by taking action through the use of one's talents and strengths to grab it little by little along the course of their lives. A few have luck along their side and so are able to grab success on the large scale as a result of their hard work. Yet others choose not to respond and take a step towards the success they are aiming for. These people are the ones who are stuck in the rut and remain to dream their illusion of success. Another reason why success is so highly sought for is that along with it comes reputation. A more successful person is more respectable in the eyes of many. This respect comes from the fact that people value success so highly, hence, the more who has success the more respect he or she receives. Moreover, in such a materially-oriented society people simply become opportunistic, in part due to competition against many others who are targeting for the same goal in life, because respecting or being nice with a successful person is normally assumed to give something in return. Perhaps, the wealthy person will give you a job or lend you money at some point in the future. Willy, Linda, Biff and Happy are all unable to separate illusion from reality to some extent. It all runs in the family.
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