The Vulnerability of the American Dream in The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is a play that illustrated the realistic life of being an American and the vulnerability of an American Dream. It is a play that blended realism and expressionism in order to demonstrate the struggles and failures of Willy Loman. It showed Willy’s illusion of an American Dream, and the harsh reality shattering his dream into pieces. The play displayed Willy’s dreamlike inner world and the cruel realities of the external world. However, it is the interactions of realism and expressionism that makes the life of Willy evermore impacting. The blending of the reality and the inner feelings of Willy illustrates the true struggles of an American during the eighteenth century-- the feebleness to accomplish their dreams under the trenchant reality.
Realism is the general attempt to depict things accurately. Consequently, in Death of a Salesman, Miller attempted to be as realistic and accurate as possible. The audience can infer this from the setting and the the situation of Loman’s family in the present. For example, in the play, the setting was described as “ solid vault of apartment houses around the small, fragile-seeming home.” The apartment houses surrounding Loman’s home can symbolize the growing economy and the improving lifestyles of people, during the 1940s, right after World War II. On the other hand, Willy’s fragile-seeming home can symbolize his family situation at the present times. It shows Lomans’ vulnerability of their life at the present. In addition, Willy’s job situation points out the realities at the time. For example, Linda once described Willy’s situation “ He drives seven hundred miles, and when he gets there no one knows him anymore...when he has to go to Charley and borrow f...

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...redients to portray Willy as a person who tends to escape from reality. Those three elements of the play illustrates the feelings and characteristics of Willy. They help to create a world full of Willy’s emotions and thoughts. It is a world of escape.
Death of a Salesman portrays a dream within a realistic world. The blending of the reality and the inner feelings of Willy illustrates the true struggles of an American during the eighteenth century. Willy’s illusions of a materialistic dream is replaced with the realities of his situation. Arthur Miller created a dreamlike play with his use of expressionism. However, his use of realism allows the play to show the social problems of the time. The blending of reality and Willy’s dream gives the audience a lifelike emotional impact. Therefore, Death of a Salesman stands strong and unique in the history of modern drama.
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