Dreams in Death of a Salesman.

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Dreams in Death of a Salesman. In this essay I’m going to consider Arthur Miller’s perception of dreams, particularly the American Dream. Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" is a detailed review on the capitalist American society of the 1940s and also on human psychology and how much materialistic success means to us. He uses the misfortunes of a salesman named Willy Loman to illustrate this. Miller introduces the Loman family in a depressing mood (dim lighting is used and shows a house that has "towering, angular shapes" surrounding it and with little furniture). This immediately gives the audience a glum feeling about the play. The Loman family is a very stereotypical American family, with the father, Willy, working all day, a loving mother, Linda, and two children, Biff and Happy. As the play develops however, we learn more and more about the real tragedy of the family. Willy believes in the American dream. It was very influential in the American society of the 1940s and still is to some people, today. But only a few people have benefited from it. The American dream is based on the idea that as long as someone works hard, they will achieve great success no matter what their sex, age, nationality is. As the audience learn about the Loman family's poor financial situation, it becomes clear that Willy is a victim of the American dream. Willy's failure in leading a rich or even just a comfortable life is very apparent. He complains about his work and struggles to pay his bills. He is also frequently shown in a state of depression, he cannot concentrate when driving; he is still working at his old age and is struggling to bring in a steady income. His unstable mind makes him contradict himself in th... ... middle of paper ... ...fridge fails. Arthur Miller seems to see her, not Ben, as the real hero of the play. This is reflected in the gentle respect he gives to her in his writing. This play is a strong message against the principle of the "American Dream". Willy Loman is constantly striving to achieve the dream, but drives himself crazy. Biff seems to be the only character in the Loman family that is able to set himself aside from this dream, wanting only to be happy - his own man. Although I believe dreams to be an important, if not essential part of life, I also believe that contentment is far more important. If you cannot be happy with what you have, you cannot possibly hope to be happy with what you wish for. Willy Loman dreams of becoming a great man, dreams of the great man he was and dreams of the great man Biff can be, he just fails to realise that they are great men.
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