This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Comparing Death Of A Salesman And The American Dream

1223 words - 5 pages

Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream

    In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman and Edward Albee’s The American Dream, Willy Lowman and Mommy possess the trait of superficiality. Their priorities are to look good and be liked, and this contributes to their misguided paths to reach success. This attribute is one of many societal criticisms pointed out by both authors. Arthur Miller criticizes society for perceiving success as being liked and having good looks. He illustrates society’s perception through Willy, who thinks the keys to success are being popular and attractive. Willy transmits this philosophy to his sons by ignoring their education and personal growth and setting an example that popularity is most important.  Edward Albee criticizes society for the same thing. He points out the wrong priorities in life such as emphasizing good looks and the wish to be liked at the expense of deeper ethics and morals. Through Mommy’s incident with the hat, which showed she wanted to be liked, and her problems with her own son’s physical and mental faults, which showed she cared too much for good looks, Albee shows how society is misguided in its methods to achieve success.

Miller’s Willy shows many times that his idea of success goes no deeper than the superficial by teaching his sons the wrong path to a successful life. When Biff was in high school, Willy had already started to teach his son the false values in which he believed. When Willy found out Biff had stolen a football and was caught by his coach, who did not get angry, Willy responded by using the incident as an example of the importance of his philosophy.

"That’s because he likes you. If somebody else took that ball there’d be
an uproar." (pg.30)

Instead of teaching Biff the lesson of not stealing, saying next time the consequences will be worse, Willy almost encourages the immature mistake. Willy continues to teach his sons his misguided values by telling them education is almost useless and a good body is a fine substitute.

"Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand , but when he
gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five
times ahead of him. That’s why I thank the Almighty God you’re both
built like Adonises. Because the man that makes the appearance in the
business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who
gets ahead. Be liked and you’ll never want." (pg. 33)

Willy is now misleading his sons into thinking good looks will keep them alive in the corporate world and education won’t, yet Willy is a man with respectable looks and he isn’t surviving in the same world. Fifteen years later, Willy continues to preach the same theory, even after he has seen both his sons fail in the world, having been guided by his words. Prior to Biff’s proposal to Bill Oliver for ten thousand dollars , Willy is still stuffing his sons’ heads with the same misleading advise.

"It’s not what...

Find Another Essay On Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream

The American Dream Conspiracy in Death of a Salesman

1747 words - 7 pages Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of the failure of a salesman, Willy Loman. Although not all Americans are salesmen, most of us share Willy’s dream of success. We are all partners in the American Dream and parties to the conspiracy of silence surrounding the fact that failures must outnumber successes.(Samantaray, 2014) Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen. The result is the anti

The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

819 words - 3 pages The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman The American Dream ~ for many, it is the unlocked door that leads to happiness.  It is the hope for a future filled with success and fortune.  Although most people have a similar idea of what the American Dream is, they may have different ideas on how to achieve it.  For Willy Loman, a struggling salesman, achieving this dream would be a major accomplishment.  Unfortunately, his

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman

2454 words - 10 pages from being a potential reality, into being a dream, like the name implies. Most of Miller´s plays are directly or indirectly about the American Dream, because ultimately this dream wasn´t going to succeed as lots of people wished. 'Death of a Salesman´ written in 1949, is a moving destruction of the whole myth. To be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the American Dream. This lead onto success

The American Dream: A Conflict essay of "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons"

1269 words - 5 pages "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons" are centered around one man trying to attain the American dream. Few will deny that Americans are keenly focused on the quest for money. The American Dream is the belief that through hard work, courage, and willpower one could attain a better life for oneself and family, more often than not through financial wealth. The difficult part is, once attained, the methods and knowledge need to be passed from one

The American Dream in "Death of a Salesman" and "Seize the Day"

1174 words - 5 pages portrayal of the individuals who have supposedly reached the nirvana of the “American Dream”. In the play “Death of a Salesman” Willy thinks that if a person has the right personality and he is well liked it’s easy to achieve success rather than hard work and innovation. This is seen when Willy is only concerned how Biff’s class mates reacted to his joke of the teachers lisp. Willy’s dream of success for his son Biff who was very well liked in

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby

1295 words - 5 pages is a mere illusion, focusing on money, power and how to reach it; portraying materialism and wealth as the “American Dream” and self-actualization, as portrayed by Miller in Death of a Salesman. The American Dream came to mean fame and fortune, instead of a promise that shaped a nation. (David Kamp, Vanity Fair) This so- called dream has done incredible damage to our companies and corporations in America. As economic success and

American Dream Derailed in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

1704 words - 7 pages The American dream originated when immigrants came to America searching for new opportunities and a better life. In the early 1900’s all people could do is dream; however, those dreams gave many different meanings to the phrase “American dream”, and for the most part, wealth and hard work play a very large role in the pursuit of “the dream”. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, and Arthur Miller’s drama, Death of a Salesman, both

American Dream in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

994 words - 4 pages The American Dream consists in the idea that people can be whoever they want to be, and the American government system will support each individual in order to achieve success and increase their life status. This notion is discussed and criticized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby and by Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman. The protagonists of the books are Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman, they are both examples of tragic heroes

Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman

821 words - 3 pages Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman For most, the American Dream is a sure fire shot at true happiness.  It represents hope for a successful, fortune-filled future.  Though most agree on the meaning of the American Dream, few follow the same path to achieving it.  For struggling salesman Willy Loman, achieving this dream would mean a completely fulfilled existence.  Unfortunately, Willy's

A Comparison of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun

1533 words - 6 pages The Value of a Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun      How does one value a dream? This question arises while reading both Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun.  Although the two novels are very different, the stories and characters share many likenesses.  Death of a Salesman concerns a family’s difficulty in dealing with unrealized dreams.  A Raisin in the Sun focuses on a

The American Dream in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

2733 words - 11 pages possessions are what it takes to be happy. The American dream is to be rich. A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, and Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, both address the American Dream. Both plays discuss the desire for wealth and how the desire may lead to one’s downfall. However, each play is very different in addressing issues such as race and feminism. A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman have the same

Similar Essays

The American Dream And Death Of A Salesman

987 words - 4 pages the idea that all people are just concerned with making easy money. In Miller’s play, some characters, such as Willy (from early on in the play) and Bernard genuinely work hard to try to make an honest living. Works Cited Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1949. Print. Warshauer, Matthew. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream”. American Studies Resourced Center 13 February 2003: n. pag. Web. 26 May 2011. .

Comparing The American Dream In Miller's Death Of A Salesman And Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

3570 words - 14 pages Comparing the Destructive American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun America is a land of dreamers. From the time of the Spanish conquistadors coming in search of gold and everlasting youth, there has been a mystique about the land to which Amerigo Vespucci gave his name. To the Puritans who settled its northeast, it was to be the site of their “city upon a hill” (Winthrop 2). They gave their

Death Of A Salesman The Pursuit Of The American Dream

1218 words - 5 pages The Pursuit of the 'American Dream'Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is a tragic play about Willy Loman's pursuit of the 'American Dream.' This dream is the dream of wealth and success. The author's main character, Willy Loman, is a traveling salesman that spends his whole lifetime trying to find success based on looks and popularity. Willy Loman is a product of this ever-increasing society. This society is obsessed with measuring success by

American Dream In "Death Of A Salesman"

5507 words - 22 pages and economic growth. However, people have difficulty in applying this term in real life. The United States has been criticized for failing to live up to the ideals that American Dream requires. However with each character in Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller claims that blind faith in American Dream causes it to lose its real ideals. And Arthur Miller is the one who doesn't criticize the American Dream as an ideology but claims that different