The American Dream in Death of a Salesman

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"The American Dream" is based on the 'Declaration of Independence´:

'We believe that all men are born with these inalienable rights -

life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.´ (Thomas Jefferson, 1776).

This 'dream´ consists of a genuine and determined belief that in

America, all things are possible to all men, regardless of birth or

wealth; you work hard enough you will achieve anything. However,

Miller says people have been 'ultimately misguided´.

The origins of the American Dream seem to have been rooted in the

pioneering mentality of the 18th and 19th century immigrants, most of

whom came to America because of a promise of a new and better life. In

particular, the opportunity to own one´s land. But land 'ran out´ and

so cities developed and massive variations arose in wealth, which

meant that this 'American Dream´ changed from being a potential

reality, into being a dream, like the name implies.

Most of Miller´s plays are directly or indirectly about the American

Dream, because ultimately this dream wasn´t going to succeed as lots

of people wished. 'Death of a Salesman´ written in 1949, is a moving

destruction of the whole myth.

To be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the

American Dream. This lead onto success, wealth and in due time -

power. But this dream for everyone developed, and encouraged greed,

selfish behaviour, pride and rivalry between one another.

Willy Loman was 'caught-up´ in this American Dream. It causes business

to develop in the world. Capitalism and also the profit motive and

competitive instinct, makes Willy have a weakness in his personality.

This weakness was caused b...

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...ute. And Ben also has a

distinct type of music.

The staging was clever too. No walls were in between the rooms. But

when it was the present day, people walked through a doorway. But when

it was in one of Willy´s 'daydreams´ they ignored the walls. Again to

allow the audience to be aware of the characters being in real life or

in Willy´s 'daydreams´.

'Death of a Salesman´ contains much that is critical of modern

American society. But, this was not Arthur Miller´s sole purpose in

writing it.

Willy´s misjudgement of his failure in life is demonstrated in 'Death

of a Salesman´. He feels as though he has failed because he has no

fortune to show for it, in either his or his son´s names. What he has

truly failed in is his family life, and his married life. That is the

corruption of the true 'American Dream´.
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