Essay on Destruction of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman

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"We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.” -- President Obama, Commenting on the American Dream

The American Dream is a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success. It is the belief that, no matter how poor you begin life, you can achieve upward social mobility for your family and children. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, crushes the ethos of the American Dream. Miller’s ability to portray this delusional idea through the life and relationships of Willy Loman, a typical, low income American, is exquisite. America, in 1949, was experiencing an economic boom, and Miller precisely shows the effect of this on the “normal” individuals and families in the population, through Willy and his family. The play altogether should not be viewed in parts and pieces, but as an equivocal whole, in which the life, and death, of Willy shows the faulty components of this so called “American dream”.

“Personal magnetism, making an impression, having contacts, being well liked; these make up the “secret” of success. But, curiously, Willy does not like himself. (Ferguson).” Throughout the entire play, Willy does nothing but preach to his sons, Biff and Happy, that in order to be successful, you must be well-liked, know everyone, and, more importantly, have everyone know you. Willy, however, follows none of these components of the success ladder. The truly sad part is, he knows this. Willy Loman is "caught-up" in this American Dream. It causes business to develop in the world. Capitalism and also the profit motive and competitive instinct makes Willy have a wea...

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...ived a lot of acclaimed attention and is noted by many to have an excellent interpretation of the American dream. The play accurately shows through Willy Loman, his life, and his death, the true vision of the American dream in relation to the time period.

Works Cited

Cummings, Michael. "Death of a Salesman." Free Study Guides for Shakespeare and Other Authors. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May. 2015.

Ferguson, Alfred. Major Dramatists. PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Print.

Heyen, William. “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and the American Dream.” Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 47-58.

Miller, Arthur. "Tragedy and the Common Man." New York Times 27 Feb. 1949: 3. Web. 14 May. 2015.

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