The American Dream in Death of a Salesman Essay

In Arthur Millers “Death of a Salesman” the life of a typical male of the mid nineteen forties is played out on phase. The play tells the story of Willy Loman and his household. Willy, like so many other guys, simply wishes to succeed and raise two effective sons. He wishes to live the so called “American dream” that was so essential throughout this time duration. The success of a man and his family was how he was evaluated, if he and his sons were successful then he must be an excellent man.

The seduction of the American dream is what Willy lives for, and dies for. As Arthur Miller displays in this play, the power of the American dream suffices to drive a guy crazy, and even end his life. The setting of this play informs a lot about how the American dream is being represented. Everyone constantly desires the huge home with the white picket fence and a garden in the back.

The Loman household used to have all of this when the boys, Biff and Delighted, were growing up with the huge city as just lights in the distance.

As Terry Thompson of Georgia Southern University describes; “Critics have long highlighted the importance of the primary setting in Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman, discussing how the small house of Willy and Linda Loman-once located on the green fringes of suburbia and blessed with shade trees, a backyard garden and a lot of open space for two rowdy kids- has ended up being palisaded by callous urban spread” (244) the when happy country house of the Lomans has actually been suffocated by urbanization.

Willy is disgusted by this growing city, saying “the method they boxed us in here. Bricks and windows. Windows and bricks” (Miller 1872). Willy Loman as soon as lived the so called American Dream, but it is being removed from him. Willy desires the American dream, but is not going to strive for it. Willy Loman anticipates whatever to come easy to him and his children. In high school, his son Biff was the football star and both of his children were “well liked” and they all believe that this will bring them through the rest of their lives.

As Thompson puts it; “like eternal sophomores, they continue to think that the greater world will accept them, will announce them, just because they are superficially lovely, are periodically witty, and can bluster and boast with the very best of them” (247) he mentions the defects in the Loman young boys thinking, since the success, or absence thereof, has been revealed in the play. in the first act, Biff, the earliest son, realizes this; “Perhaps that’s my difficulty. I resemble a boy.

I’m not wed, I’m not in organisation, I simply– I’m like a kid” (Miller 1875) this at least hows the maturity of Biff who can recognize his own flaws, unlike his father. Willy never completely accepts the truth that he and his kids are not as effective as they wished and though themselves to be. Willy still resides in a fantasy world and refuses to accept that his life is collapsing around him. Willy is well-known for speaking with himself and his dead bro, Ben, and fantasizing of the past. Willy daydreams about his brother continuously, due to the fact that he covets him, he wants to be as effective and important as Ben was.

As Thomas Porter says in his article; “In Benjamin Loman, the struggling and insecure salesperson sees the personification of the secret of success, the Eleusinian rite knows only to initiates” (porter 30). Willy’s older brother Ben was a really successful male who strolled into the jungle at 17 and left at 21 and “by god was I rich” (Miller 1888). Willy constantly compared himself to his older brother and was never fully satisfied because he was never like him.

Willy had the opportunity to go with Ben when he went to Africa however he didn’t, since he was already wed with kids and worked as a taking a trip salesperson, so he didn’t want to leave all of that behind. After his sibling returned abundant Willy was never ever completely happy due to the fact that he though he lost out on the chance of a life time and ever being abundant and effective like his bro. Willy wanted his boys to mature to be successful and pleased just as he had actually constantly wanted to. His earliest boy Biff was the star of his high school football team and the younger child Happy was always really favored by the others.

Willy constantly expressed to his boys the significance to be well liked and physically appealing, because that’s what he believed would get them far in life; “I thank Almighty god you’re both developed like Adonises. Because a guy who makes a look in the business world, the guy who creates individual interest, is the guy who gets ahead” (Miller 1881). The next-door neighbor young boy, Bernard is a great example of how Willy’s theory is shown incorrect. Bernard in school was liked, but not well liked, and he concentrated on his school work unlike Happy and Biff, who failed math causing him to not finish.

Bernard became the most successful guy in the play. This shows that Willy’s way of reaching his dream, the American dream, was impractical and unsuccessful, as was the rest of his life. Willy Loman has numerous false conceptions and beliefs of what success even is. A man can not achieve success if he does not even understand what the objective is. As Irving Jacobson stated in his short article Household Dreams in Death of a Salesman; “Loman wants success, but the significance of that requirement extends beyond the accumulation of wealth, security, goods, and status” (247 ).

What Willy Loman does not recognize is that to be effective he also needs his household to find him successful. Willy requires his children to admire him and admire him, which they do when they were more youthful, however Willy ruins this for himself. Jacobson argues that “what Willy Loman desires, and what success suggests in Death of a Salesman is totally related to his own sense of family” (248) what Jacobson is stating with this declaration is that Willy requires to base his life objectives less on the product sense of the word “success” and more on the family side.

Willy obviously does not comprehend this because he ruins his household values by what he does with other ladies when he is opted for company, which biff later on discovers. To attain the American dream you must work hard and refraining from doing anything that would obstruct of achievement. Willy has a major defect in this play which he handles to keep a secret up until his kid Biff accidentally discovers. Part of the American dream is to be gladly married, which Willy appears to be. However Willy ruins this happiness for himself by having affairs with younger females when he is traveling on organisation.

He keeps this trick from the household up until one day Biff pertains to his hotel room to tell him about his stopping working grade in math. Willy has a female in his room at the time and when Biff sees her, all of his affection for his father vanishes. Willy tries to convince Biff that she was just visiting him and absolutely nothing happened, however Biff understands much better. Willy ruins his image of the perfect father and husband that he developed by doing this. Willy not just does not work hard enough to attain the dream, but he does things that land him even farther away from it.

Not just is Willy driven crazy by the seduction of the dream during his lifetime, but he lets it end his life likewise. Willy Loman is a taking a trip salesman so he is on the roadway a lot and has actually had a number of “mishaps” where he has actually trashed the automobile. His partner Linda later on discovered a rubber hose that was attached to a gas pipe that had actually not been there previously. Linda started to wonder if all of these vehicle wrecks were mishaps or not and she got her response when a female informed her that she once saw Willy drive off the edge of a bridge, he didn’t lose control, but simply repelled and the shallowness of the water was the only thing that conserved him.

Willy was trying in several ways to take his own life. The power of the American dream slipping through his fingers and realizing he was no longer living it was too much for Willy to manage. Enough so to where he was willing to end his life to get away the disappointment he felt towards himself and his children. The seduction of living this so called dream was obviously too strong for Willy to resist. As the play went on Willy got worse and worse and acted complete stranger all the time. The scene in the restaurant where Willy reminisced on his affair and Biff capturing was what made Willy realize that the dream was gone.

He did not wish to accept that Biff did not get the cash he had requested from Expense Oliver, since it meant that he was not also liked and successful as Willy had hoped he would be. In Willy’s flashback he remembered yelling at Biff to follow his orders and to believe that the woman was just a customer, but Biff declined to do either. Willy had actually constantly had all the power over his kids and his partner however he was not seeing it escape. Biff had actually lost all regard for him which is all willy had opting for him.

His household was the only ones who saw him as effective and now that even that was gone, he understood he had absolutely nothing. This was the last thing Willy needed, and it was what triggered him to take his life. Towards the end of the play, Willy gets the idea in his head that the only way he can lastly show his success and social standing to his young boys is for them to see how many people would concern his funeral after he died “But the funeral- Bed that funeral will be enormous! That young boy will be thunder-struck, Ben, due to the fact that he never ever understood- I am understood! He’ll see what I am, Ben! He’s in for a shock, that young boy! (Miller 1927. )

As Noobrakhsh Hooti and Farzaneh Azipour write in their short article Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman: a postmodernist study; “Willy wishes to make an impression, to be remembered after his death, to offer something to Biff and Happy, and his inability to do any of this haunts him. Once he recognizes his life has been futile: he is old, has achived bit, is scorned by his boss and his boys, that makes Willy concern deal with the absurdity of life”(21.) This statement reveals that Willy is so desperate to show his importance and status to his household, that he wants to end his own life to do it.

Suicide is typically viewed as an afraid relocation for one to leave their own problems, seldom is it seen as an act of guts or is accepted as a reasonable thing to do. One could argue that what Willy Loman did was the “simple escape” and simply for selfish factors. On the other hand though, it might be viewed as a last option for him to finally show himself to his family. As Hootie and Azizpour argued; “what else can Willy do, the, however climb up back into his automobile and repel to a death that at last will bring him the reward that he has chased so determinedly.

A reward that will offset his sense of guilt, validate his life, and hand on to another generation the burden of belief that has actually decomposed his soul (21.) so what Willy did can be seen in 2 ways, he can be looked at as a coward who took suicide as the easy way out of his worthless life, or he can be taken a look at as a sad guy who did the last thing he thought would finally show himself to his household, and lastly attain the American Dream. Everybody wants to be successful and live the American dream, but Willy Loman took that to an extreme.

As Thomas Porter said it “The most prominent quality of Arthur Millers catastrophe of the common man Death of a Salesperson is Americanism” (24) He based the success of his entire life off of those around him and he compared himself to everybody else. When Willy Loman realized that his life was never ever as great as he thought it was and the imagine power and success was unrealistic, it was too much for him to deal with. The power and seduction of living the dream subdued and managed Willy Lomans life and eventually ended it. As Arthur Miller displays in this play, the power of the American dream suffices to drive a guy crazy, and even end his life

You may also have an interest in the following: reflection of the death of a salesman act 1, reflection of the death of a salesperson

You Might Also Like