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Material happiness provides the ambition behind seeking the "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman ." In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman's determination to live up to his "American Dream" and to seek material happiness only takes his life.
What is the "American Dream"? The "American Dream" cannot be defined. I know that my "American Dream" consists of a Porsche, a large house, and a happy family. Willy Loman's definition does not differ greatly from mine although while trying to pursue this dream, Willy's mind slowly drifted further and further away from reality. The "American Dream" is the idea that any man or woman can make his or her own fortune, despite his or her past. Willy is trying to achieve success through this thought, believing that being "well liked" and working hard will be enough to ensue his success. Willy was wrong.
Social class is a major factor in Death of a Salesman. Willy is a salesman. Willy believes that success comes from being well liked and popular and has tried desperately to instill his notions to his two boys Happy and Biff, Willy's biggest aspirations in life. His wife Linda is extremely supportive and is Willy's only connection to reality. While raising his boys and trying to instill his "American Dream", he fails to teach them any sense of morality, leading them down to what he feels is the wrong path. At one point, he defends Biff for stealing just because he was an amazing football player. "Loaded with it. Loaded! What is he stealing? He's giving it back, isn't he? Why is he stealing? What did I tell him? I never in my life told him anything but decent things." (Pg 41. Act 1)
Willy's goal throughout life was to climb out of his social class. As a salesman, Willy was a failure and he tried desperately to make his sons never end up like him. As a result, he loses his mind and his grasp on reality. Throughout the story, Willy often has flashbacks of the conversations that he and his brother Ben once had and the author intertwines them in past and present very nicely.
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Ben: "Is mother living with you?"
Willy: "No, she died a long time ago."
These flashbacks illustrate Willy's loss of reality from the world. As Willy and Charley are playing a game of cards, Willy has a flashback of him and Ben and Charley becomes completely confused, believing that Willy is speaking to him.
Ben: "I'd hoped to see the old girl."
Charley: "Who died?"
As a character, Ben represents the opportunity that Willy did not take and all the fortune that he missed.