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Death Of A Salesman Essay

1266 words - 5 pages

The concept of the American dream varies from person to person. For some, it is achieving personal happiness, for others, having a strong and loving family. Willy Loman, however, has a different idea of a dream - to be a hero in the eyes of his family and everyone else. He wants everyone to know who he is, and to remember him long after death for his accomplishments and offspring. Throughout Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, Willy strives to meet his own definition of a hero. However, due to the flaws in both the American dream and in Willy's own dream world, he fails miserably in this quest for heroics.In Willy Loman's mind, having many deeds and accomplishments in one's life is key to being a hero. It is not enough to simply live your life - according to Willy a person must achieve both material and personal success. His own life is an unsuccessful quest to achieve this prosperity. One of the main examples of this is that Willy and his wife Linda have so many appliances on the installment plan. They don't actually own these things, but put struggle to make the small payments every month in the hope of someday being able to call them their own. There is always "one more payment on the refrigerator" (73), or "the last payment on the mortgage" (73). Willy can only free himself of these commitments by ending his life, and does not live to see what it is like to live without debt. Willy is always comparing himself to other people in the play to measure his level of success. In this respect, he has achieved almost nothing. He greatly admires his brother, Ben, for attaining so much success by doing so little. Ben describes his own success with a laugh, saying "when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out"¦by God I was rich" (48). Willy, on the other hand, didn't have the same sense of adventure. He decides not to move out to Alaska at the last minute because he meets Dave Singleman, who convinces him to become a salesman. The decision haunts him for the rest of his life as he fails in the business world. He works all of his life as a salesman, only to be fired when he is pleading with his boss to "take home"¦sixty-five dollars a week" (79). For him, there is only a thin line between his job and his personal life. Therefore, when he fails in the business world he takes it as a personal insult. When the buyers are rejecting his sales pitches, he interprets it as them rejecting him as a person. He has no self-confidence, thinking "people seem to laugh at me" (36). His own definition of success in the business world is being well liked, and not even he fits this description.In this play full of heroes and dreams, Willy has his own idol. This man is Dave Singleman, salesman extraordinaire. Not only does Singleman achieve the success in the business world that Willy desires, he has something else "" a legacy. Willy tells Howard "when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral"...

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