A Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

A Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

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A Shattered Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller


Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic path, which eventually leads to Willy Loman's suicide.

Death of a Salesman?is?a search for identity, [Willy?s] attempt to be a man according to the frontier tradition in which he was raised, and a failure to achieve that identity because in [1942] and in [Brooklyn] that identity cannot be achieved. (Gross 321)
Willy is a symbolic icon of the failing American; he represents those that have striven for success in society, but, in struggling to do so, have instead achieved failure in the most bitter form.

Perhaps what is wrong with the society is not that it has implanted the wrong values in [Willy], values which finally do not lead to success anyway, but that it has lost touch with values which should never be relegated only to the personal sphere or the family unit. (Lawrence 57)

In Arthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, the protagonist, pursues a false perception of the American Dream. Arthur Miller establishes Willy Loman as a traveling salesman in his sixties, a dreamer of success, and a troubled man. Willy is not a successful man, but clings to his dreams and ideals. ?[Arthur Miller] did not realize either how few would be impressed by the fact that [Willy] is actually a very brave spirit who cannot settle for half but must pursue his dream of himself to the end? (Hayman 55-56). Willy reminisces about the neighborhood years ago. His past recurs through the play in vivid scenes. Each time he returns from an episode in the past, Willy discovers new information that throws light on his troubled past. Willy portra...


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... of a Salesman. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 25-38.
Roudané, Matthew C. ?Death of a Salesman and the Poetics of Arthur Miller.? The Cambridge Companion to Arthur Miller. Ed. Christopher Bigsby. New York: Cambridge UP, 1997. 60-85.
Sister, M. Bettina. ?Willy Loman?s Brother Ben: Tragic Insight in Death of a Salesman.? Modern Drama. Feb. 1962: 409-412.
Spillane, Margaret. ?Life of a Salesman.? Nation 8 Mar. 1999: 7.
Steinberg, M. W. ?Arthur Miller and the Idea of Modern Tragedy.? Twentieth Century Views Arthur Miller. Ed. Robert W. Corrigan. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1969, 81-84.
Weales, Gerald. ?Arthur Miller?s Shifting Image of Man.? Twentieth Century Views Arthur Miller. Ed. Robert W. Corrigan. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1969. 131-142.
?Why Willy Loman Lives.? The Economist 19 June 1999: 19-21.

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