The American Dream in "Death of a Salesman"

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Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ is an examination of American life and consumerism. It relates the story of a common man who portrays this lifestyle. Other issues explored in the play include: materialism, procrastination and alienation. The play was set in 1948, in a time where The American Dream was highly regarded, despite the Depression. The American Dream was a belief that emerged in the later half of the nineteenth century, that if you work hard you will achieve success and prosperity. The American Dream affects our view of Willy Loman as a tragic hero because he is convinced that the way to achieve a better life is by living the American Dream. Willy Loman believes that he will find success with the American Dream through his likable personality. Yet, he dies without it, which adds to his tragic downfall. In the play, the American Dream is a misguided perception of success by both Willy Loman and his family. For Willy, the key to achieving success is being well liked. This is a concept that Willy Loman regards highly. Willy uses himself as an example of being well liked, especially when he is with his sons. For example, he says “...Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer...” Moreover, this quote shows that Willy Loman likes to exaggerate and boast about his liked character. Miller represents Willy as person living the Dream though his suburban house and his job as a salesman. However, the audience know from Willy’s remark in Act Two that he is desperate for money, “…- that’s all I’d need. Forty dollars Howard.” This shows that Willy Loman is actually experiencing financial poverty rather than living the American Dream. Miller is trying to show that t... ... middle of paper ... ...wever, in general the American Dream is a misleading idea for success. ‘Willy Loman begins to grasp the truth that his life has reached its peak and many of his dreams were never met.’ Willy Loman wanted to live these dreams to establish his American Dream. But Miller is putting emphasis on that The American Dream is nothing but an illusion. Although, The American Dream affects our view of Willy as a tragic hero, from the play we conclude that Willy Loman's tragic flaws are what mainly construct this tragedy. . Works Cited Arthur, M (1949). Death of a Salesman. Penguin Books LTD. "Death of a Salesman" - Critical Analysis - By SergeiS55 (Oct 28, 2006)
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