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The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Many people dream of the American dream. To have a big house, two kids and a picket fence. In Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman every character uses lies and deceit as a way to escape reality. With this said, it is only Biff’s character that is dynamic, realizing the error of his ways. Constantly, each character escapes their problems with deceit. Even Biff remains in this state of falsehood, until he reaches his epiphany.

The main character Willy Loman, is constantly fooling himself into believing that he is a huge success. He often lies to his family about how well he is doing, when truthfully his salary was taken away, and he has to borrow money from his neighbor, Charlie. When Linda asks him about his wages, he replies “I’ll knock ‘em dead next week.” (Miller 36) Willy says this, very well knowing that he will not. He fools himself, and lies to his children about his success. “The cops let me park where ever I want in Boston!” (Miller 31) This shows that he thinks he is a big deal in New England, when truthfully he is washed up. He exclaims that he is, “A vital New England man, but in reality he has not been helping the company or his family. His boss was looking to fire him for a long time. His whole life, he has had the wrong idea. “Success doesn’t come from just luck, popularity, or personality. All throughout the Death of a Salesman, Loman tells his two sons, Biff and Happy, that the key to success in life is to be “well liked” and that all you need is “a smile and a shoeshine.” (Brett) However, Willy completely ignored his true calling of working with his hands, to become a business man. He was so infatuated with the American Dream, he didn’t realize that he wasn’t a good Salesman, and would have succeeded as ...

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...ity to indulge in a world that doesn’t exist. Nobody wanted to face the facts, which lead to the ultimate demise of the family. Only the oldest son Biff Loman underwent an epiphany. He realized who he was and who he is destined to be.

Works Cited

Brett. "Lessons in Unmanliness: Willy Loman." The Art of Manliness RSS. N.p., 02 Oct. 2008. Web. 07 May 2014.

Harshbarger, Karl. ""I Know Who I Am";: The Revenge of Biff Loman." Taylor and Francis. N.p., 06 June 2009. Web. 08 May 2014.

Miller, Arthur, and Gerald Clifford Weales. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin, 1996. Print.

TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Death of a Salesman". TheBestNotes.com. 6 May 2014. 11 May 2008

Younkins, Edward W. "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman: A Case of Self-Delusion." Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman: A Case of Self-Delusion. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.
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