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Discuss The Importance Of Dreams In The Play 'death Of A Salesman'

1023 words - 4 pages

The play, 'Death of a Salesman', uses Willy Loman's frequent day dreams to give the audience insight into his mind. Viewing the hallucinations allows the audience to see important events in the Loman families past and also provides justification for the actions of the characters in the 'real time' of the play. Willy's fantasies are crucial to the development and structure of the play. This essay will outline the importance of dreams within 'Death of a Salesman' focusing in particular on the prominent theme of the American Dream."Death of a Salesman" strongly presents some of the ideology of the American Dream. Willy Loman himself strongly believes that to achieve complete satisfaction in life, a man must be popular, successful and affluent. Throughout the play, Willy constantly talks of owning his 'own business'. Willy feels that he is an inadequate person if he is not 'well liked' or able to afford expensive material possessions like a luxurious refrigerator or a 'chevvy'. Willy's obsession with owning material goods is very much linked to the theme of the American Dream mirroring a capitalist society. Within a capitalist society, only a few members are allowed to be successful. This reflects the reality of the American Dream where the minority has prospered and are happily living the American Dream whereas the rest of society lurches through life feeling miserable and inadequate. This feeling of failure is reflected in the actions and dialogue of Willy Loman. Willy feels that he needs the material possessions, popularity and money to prove himself a worthy member of American society. Without it he feels like a failure.The American Dream as an important theme in the play also explains all of the male members of the Loman family's pressure to succeed. All the Loman men desperately strive to achieve success in areas which would never make them totally happy. Willy Loman shows a need to have excellence in all aspects of his life. This desperation is shown in his constant over-exaggeration of his and his son's achievements and skills. Willy is constantly contradicting himself throughout "Death of a Salesman". For example, during one of Willy's frequent flashbacks he returns home to his eager wife and talks of his 'five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston', he later contradicts himself when questioned repeatedly about his sales. In the end he admits his actual 'two hundred gross on the whole trip'. Willy exaggerates his figures in this particular part of the play to fulfil his self given role as a successful salesman.The hopes and dreams of the members in the Loman family are all generally similar. Male members of the Loman family wish to become successful in their jobs and live a comfortable lifestyle. In the present time of ?Death of a Salesman? Biff and Happy share a dream of going into business together as 'The Loman...

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