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The Jagged Edges of a Shattered American Dream in Death of a Salesman

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The American dream is an ideal for all Americans to get the best out

of life. It stands for an easy and comfortable life, which makes you

independent and your own boss. Historically, the American dream meant

a promise of freedom and opportunity, offering the chance of riches

even to those who start with nothing. This is something that Arthur

Miller conveys in his play Death of a Salesman. Before the Depression,

an optimistic America offered the alluring promise of success and

riches. Willy Loman, Millers main character suffers from his

disenchantment with the American dream, for it fails him and his son.

In some ways, Willy and his older son Biff seem trapped in a

transitional period of American history. Willy, now sixty-three,

carried out a large part of his career during the Depression and World

War II. The promise of success that entranced him in the optimistic

1920's was broken by the harsh economic realities of the 1930's. The

unprecedented prosperity of the 1950's remained far in the future.

Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in

the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic route that

eventually leads to his suicide. Loman is a symbolic icon of the

failing America; he represents those that have striven for success

but, in struggling to do so, have instead achieved failure in its most

bitter form. Arthur Miller's tragic drama is a probing portrait of the

typical American mind portraying an extreme craving for success and

superior status in a world otherwise unproductive. To some extent,

therefore, Death of Salesman evokes the decline of a man into lunacy

and the subsequent effect this...

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... worthwhile, I believe that he even thought that his own seeds, his

children, did not grow into the men that he wanted them to be, so

therefore his life is a waste of space in his "garden"

Miller's intention in writing about the death of a salesman, a

seemingly ordinary occurrence in twentieth-century society, was to

express the playwright's own vision of American Society and the nature

of individuality. Death of a Salesman is the failing America and the

'jagged edges of a shattered dream' but it also demonstrates Miller's

belief that 'the "common man is as apt a subject for tragedy as kings

are".[6]

[1] Homework-online/Death of a salesman.

[2] Craig. M. Garrison.

[3] http://www.revision-notes.co.uk/revision/16.html

[4] Craig M Garrison

[5] Craig M Garrison

[6] Tragedy and the Common Man
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