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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 popularity and material wealth. Having this obsession, Willy unfortunately emphasizes these principles upon his family. Because of this pursuit, Willy's values, truths and mind-set are skewed. He does not see and live in reality. He is trying as hard as possible to convince himself and family that they have acquired the success that he has longed for. Unfortunately, this betrayal is messing with his mind and the minds of his family members. Willy is in a constant battle within himself to either accept who he is or live in his own fabricated world.The 'American Dream,' in Willy's eyes, is the accomplishments and attainments of a successful career. Being the dreamer he is, Willy attempts to make his mark as a salesman because "selling [is] the greatest career a man [can] want" (Act 2). Unfortunately, for Willy, he falls short of his goals at being a success in his career as a salesman. Willy blames the superficiality of the business world. This is seen in his thoughts about Bernard:"Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y'understand, you're going to be five times ahead of him. That's why I thank Almighty God you're both built like agonizes. Because a man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want" (Act1).Willy has ingrained his distorted views in his sons as well. His sons are Biff and Happy. Because of these thoughts and views being fed to his sons, this ultimately condemned them to failure as well. Happy complains, " I mean I can outbox, outrun, and outlift anybody in that store, and I have to take orders from those common, pretty sons-of-bitches till I can't stand it anymore" (Act 1). Happy thinks that just because he is stronger than those who give him orders, he should be the one to give the orders. His father taught him that that was the way to success, and it is obviously failing for Happy. The same goes for Biff. Just because he has the dashing smile, good looks and people like him - that does not mean that he will be a success in the business world. Hard work, persistence and work ethic are what he is lacking which makes him a failure as well. Willy does not see it that way though. He is seeing both of his sons from 'the clouds.' He is looking down on them like they are the successes that he has made them out to be in his head. This, unfortunately, does not help them in life. The Loman boys are not the only ones Willy's views poisons, but...

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