Search for the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

785 Words4 Pages
Search for the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman What is the American Dream? Some believe in the nineteen fifties ideal created through television. Successful children, perfect families, and a happy stay-at-home mother are all associated with this version. Yet, everyone knows that the children are not always successful, there are family fights, and not every mother can be at home and happy. Many families have lifelong searches for the ideal American Dreams and never find one. These types of families are seen as failures. One family in this type of search is represented in Death of a Salesman through Willy, Linda, and their sons. Willy Loman is the first character to represent the search of the American Dream. First, Willy has a strong belief of the American Dream because of his brother Ben. "Why boys, when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich." This quote by Ben is the bases of Willy’s beliefs for his family and himself. By this understanding, Willy thinks he will never need to search for anything; it would come to him. Next, Willy instills this same belief within his sons. "Listen to this. This is your Uncle Ben, a great man! Tell my boys, Ben!" When Willy states this to Ben he wants his boys to have the same thought on life as himself. Though, like their father, the two sons are led to the idea that greatness will come to them. Finally, Willy does not ever understand his search until the end of the play. "What-what’s the secret?" Willy asks Bernard this question which shows he is still searching for the key to the American Dream. At the end of the play, Willy believes that the only answer to the success of his family is through his death. Linda Loman is the next character to represent her search for the American Dream. At first, Linda’s search is for good family relationships. After the big plans are made for the sporting goods shop, Linda’s spirits seem very high. Everyone in her family is getting along, therefore she is happy. These little perks of happiness are enough to keep her dream alive. Then, Linda has a more true view on her family’s search. Comments like, "Your such a boy," and, "One a philandering bum," are insights on what Linda sees within her sons.
Open Document