The American Dream in "Death of a Salesman" and "Seize the Day"

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In today’s society the term “American Dream” is perceived as being successful and usually that’s associated with being rich or financially sound. People follow this idea their entire life and usually never stop to think if they are happy on this road to success. Most will live through thick and thin with this idealization of the “American Dream” usually leading to unhappiness, depression and even suicide. The individual is confused by society’s portrayal of the individuals who have supposedly reached the nirvana of the “American Dream”. In the play “Death of a Salesman” Willy thinks that if a person has the right personality and he is well liked it’s easy to achieve success rather than hard work and innovation. This is seen when Willy is only concerned how Biff’s class mates reacted to his joke of the teachers lisp. Willy’s dream of success for his son Biff who was very well liked in High School never actually became anything. Biff turned into a drifter and a ranch worker. In the play “Seize the Day” Tommy who is financially unstable also pursues the idea of getting to the “American Dream” and becoming wealthy. He foolishly invests his last seven hundred dollars and eventually loses it leaving him broke and out of work. In both plays following the American Dream is followed in different characters and in both the characters are far away from it leaving them broke and forgotten by almost everyone.

In the play “Death of a Salesman” the “American Dream” can be seen in almost all of the male characters. The protagonist Willy works his whole life trying to be a salesman although he is good with his hands. Willy believes that if he has charisma he will become prosperous. When he goes to ask for a raise he ironically gets fired. Even th...

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... in the following of his unrealistic dreams. 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. In both plays the following of the “American Dream” leads to the characters downfall.

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