Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller. Analysis Of How It Relates To The American Dream.

1461 words - 6 pages

Death of a Salesmen by Arthur Miller, one of America's leading playwrights of the twentieth century was written in 1949. This play describes the conflicts within the Loham family to succeed in Willy Lohman' idea of the "American Dream". Willy Lohman's distorted mind believes that success is measured by your wealth and by the number of people that like you. In fact, Willy indicates that the number of people that like you is demonstrated by the number of people that know your name in each town or city and the number of people that attend your funeral. This superficial and materialistic view of the "American Dream" ultimately destroys Willy and his family. Charlie, the owner of a successful sales firm and Lohman's neighbor solidifies this distorted view when he is quoted saying "Who liked JP Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he'd look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked" (1981).We are introduced to Willy Lohman in Death of a Salesman when he is a salesman at the end of a long sales career with the same firm. Willy lives in the memories of the better days of his life and his dreams of what might have been. Throughout his life, the success that Willy sought eluded him. His ultimate failure as a salesman creates the depression and dementia that eventually leads to the destruction of relationships within his family and the relationships with the people who care for him the most. He is happiest when he is looking forward to something or when he reminiscing parts of his past. In order to cope with his failures, Willy creates an idealistic version of the truth, or Willy's truth. The first glimpse of this altered state of mind takes place during the first part of the play, when Willy returns home from a failed sales trip and he describes how he had the windshield down on the car to feel the sunshine on his face. Then his wife has to remind him that they sold that car nearly 20 years ago. When stressed, Willy places himself in his idealistic and dream world. In fact, several times throughout the play Willy will dream about a time when he thought his life was good and will try to believe this prior time is the present time. Other times when stressed, Willy will fantasize a visit and conversation with his wealthy brother, currently deceased, who tries to talk Willy into leaving with him to make his fortune. Sometimes Willy would dream about times when his son Biff was a successful well-known high school football player. At that time Willy was planning on Biff attending the University of Virginia on a football scholarship.Willy Lohman, the primary character, is the father of two sons Biff and Happy, who are in their early thirties. In the play the two sons return home for a short visit. In the eyes of Willy, both sons are failures because neither son had proved himself successful in the business world or had made the riches comparable to Willy's deceased brother, Ben. In one of Willy's illusions, Ben states " Why boys, when...

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