Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman shows us how one man's blind faith in a misconception of the American Dream becomes an obsession of accomplishment that destroys his life and nearly that of his family. Miller's main character Willy Loman somehow comes to believe that success always comes to those who are well liked and good looking. His downfall is that he does not equate success with hard work and perseverance. This faulty thinking keeps him from achieving his goals of wealth and status. His boys Biff and Happy are taught the same faulty values and are destined to fail as well.
His belief is that with simple charisma any man can achieve success and riches. His Catastrophically his suicide that was meant to show his sons how successful he was at being liked turned out to be the last symbol of how much he actually achieved by being nice. In the play “Seize the Day” Tommy has all sorts of reasons to become successful and rich, and he falsely believes that money is all around, you just have to reach out and grab them. Throughout his “friend” the doctor keeps working him to make him think that people all around are making easy money fast and that all he needs to do is invest with him the last 700 dollars. Eventually Tommy realizes it’s a scam and turns to his father as a last resort but is fully rejected by his dad.
Not only did he fail in the respect of being loved, but he also failed in being successful in his career as a salesman. Towards the end of his career as a salesman Willy started to make up stories on how successful he was in his earlier career: when talking to Howard about his success, Willy said “in 1928 I had a big year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions.”(82) Willy wanted to not only convince Howard but also himself that he did amount to something that he achieved some level of success, that all the years he put into his work meant something rather than nothing. This dream was dashed when Howard said: “Now, Willy, you never averaged... “(82). When Willy comes to the realization in how he never amounted to anything he breaks down and starts crying.
Two Sides of the Same Coin Everyone has their own interpretation of the American Dream. In his play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller juxtaposes the efforts that his characters have gone through to achieve their respective dreams, including, for example, the titular character Willy Loman’s strenuous pursuit of a misguided dream against his brother Ben Loman’s lucky break. First, Ben Loman is the successful Dreamer, having achieved his fortune via the atypical rags-to-riches style. Chasing his ambitions, however, came with some serious repercussions in the form of his younger brother Willy’s psyche. When Willy was still a toddler, Ben left him to go searching for their father in Alaska, psychologically scarring Willy to fear abandonment
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller paints the relationship of Willy and his two sons, Biff and Happy, through the dreams of living a successful life but achieving that success in the wrong manner. He wants his kids to live a better life than he had to but he had no clue on how togain this success the correct way. This wrong teaching built a wedge in their relationship with neither being successful and their father never letting them hear the end of it. His high expectations deemed foolish with his many failures at life and even indulging in an affair, guiding his sons down the wrong path of life. Willy’s dreams of having a successful life in the future are lived through the ones of his children because he couldn’t find a way to achieve
Although Walter has a job, it seems inadequate for his survival. As a result, he has become frustrated and lacks good judgement. Throughout this play Walter searches for the key ingredient that will make his life blissful. His frustrations stem from him not being able to act as a man and provide for his family and grasp hold of his ideals to watch them manifest into a positive situation. Walter Lee Younger, a man who is vehement for his family, has many ambitions in life, and dreams of the biggest dreams out of anyone else in the play.
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller describes Willy Loman as a tragic character who failed to succeed his dreams. Willy never becomes a part of the American Dream, because he is always following other people’s dreams but never his own. He chooses to become a salesman only because he is truly inspired by Ben and Dave Singleman’s successes. Willy Loman, a rather hard working man, might succeed his own American Dream in another career that he is capable of. The fantastic illusions that he himself creates due to the inspiration of others’ successes eventually lead to his failure as well as his sons’.
Likewise, “The Death of the Salesman” challenges Willy’s perception of the American Dream. Throughout the play the dialogue and actions of the Willy character illustrate desperate pursuit of the American Dream. "Death of a Salesman" is a play about a husband and a father by the name Willy Lowman. Willy has spent his entire life as a relentless salesman but has not been successful as he perceives. Throughout this play Willy believes that in order to be successful, it doesn’t just take hard work, but it takes a likeable personality, the ability to be popular and well known.
As Willy’s goals were carved by others, he forgets about his own desires. His astray ambitions oriented his life towards deceit, delusions, failure, and finally death. As he taught the same erroneous philosophies to his progeny, he unintentionally set them up for a failure. Due to misguidance and following other’s dreams, the lives of Willy and Biff are sacrificed for their fathers’ dreams. Although having dreams in life can drive one forward, following wrong dreams can lead to a disaster.
Willy tells his children that Bernard might get the best grades in school, but they will certainly have more success than he will as they are “[…] built like Adonis’s” (Miller 34). Willy assumes that it is necessary to be attractive to become successful. Additionally, he says that it is “[…] the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (Miller 34). Moreover, Willy states that “it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it – because personality always wins the day” (Miller 70). Willy believes that if he wants to become a successful businessperson, he has to impress people with his appearance and with his looks; he has to seduce his customers with his personality and his charm.