Narcissism In Death Of A Salesman

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American Success The toxicity of success is portrayed through famous literary works such as The Great Gatsby and The Death of a Salesman, while dealing with an overarching theme of American success. F. Scott Fitzgerald beautifully portrays a wealthy upper class society in The Great Gatsby, which has extreme corruption, hidden by it’s allure, while much of this upper class is pompous and selfish, as well as being so heavily judgemental that is it difficult to be accepted by these people. Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman uses the narcissistic Willy Loman to shine light on the capitalist, middle class America, who’s life revolves around superficial success, which represents the overall flaw in the capitalist system: proclivity; this leads…show more content…
Although, his narcissism exhibits the common issue with American capitalism-it leads to greediness, unhappiness, and anger. This yearning for success can also cause an obsession with appearance and the self, which is a main focus in Willy Loman’s life. He says that to get somewhere, it is good to be “built like (an) Adonis,” which he tells his sons. At one point in his life, he felt he never had to ask for anything, and that when he walked in a room, he got what he wanted because “‘Willy Loman is here!’” Eventually, Willy ages and lacks the flair that he once had, and is left with unimpressive salesman skills. Due to America’s obsession with appearance, old-age is a plague to American society. The superficiality causes those to enjoy charisma over passion. This leads to arrogance, a common American worker to be. Willy Loman is a mirror being held up to the faces of American worker-bees. He avoided risks, and continued living a monotonous, easy life. Miller is attempting to say, monotony is a dangerous habit America has. This play intends to steer readers into a direction of following their own path, rather than following the norm; the norm is nothing new, and fails to reach anything…show more content…
Willy Loman becomes incredibly involved in work-related matters, instead of the happiness surrounding his family life. He discourages Biff to take his own path, and instead, nearly forces him to become a salesman, in hopes that Biff will be more successful than he turned out to be. Willy tells Biff that his dreams will “cut down (his) life…!” Willy cannot simply hope for Biff and Happy to attain satisfaction in life, which is the element that Willy misses. He is so consumed by the idea of success that he had not once stopped to reflect on being a good father or loving his wife. Having an affair was one of his main problems-he could not put enough love into his family, so he put it anywhere else he could. He visited his mistress on business ventures, which is the only aspect of his life he truly appreciated. Therefore, his home life became full of lies, Biff saying that they “never told the truth for ten minutes.” Miller is, again, critiquing American households, since their typical values revolve more around money and presentation than a loving, kind, and caring home. Willy had a family who loved him, but he neglected to notice this, which lead to his unhappiness. Never placing any type of value of love and kindness can cause a person to become cold and bitter, which is exactly what Willy became. He may have avoided suicide if he had realized the love and care he could have been surrounded
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