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The American Dream In "Death Of A Salesman" And "Seize The Day"

1174 words - 5 pages

In today’s society the term “American Dream” is perceived as being successful and usually that’s associated with being rich or financially sound. People follow this idea their entire life and usually never stop to think if they are happy on this road to success. Most will live through thick and thin with this idealization of the “American Dream” usually leading to unhappiness, depression and even suicide. The individual is confused by society’s 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 High School never actually became anything. Biff turned into a drifter and a ranch worker. In the play “Seize the Day” Tommy who is financially unstable also pursues the idea of getting to the “American Dream” and becoming wealthy. He foolishly invests his last seven hundred dollars and eventually loses it leaving him broke and out of work. In both plays following the American Dream is followed in different characters and in both the characters are far away from it leaving them broke and forgotten by almost everyone.
In the play “Death of a Salesman” the “American Dream” can be seen in almost all of the male characters. The protagonist Willy works his whole life trying to be a salesman although he is good with his hands. Willy believes that if he has charisma he will become prosperous. When he goes to ask for a raise he ironically gets fired. Even though he named the son of his Boss who is currently running the company his charisma gets him nowhere. Willy also focuses on getting his sons to follow his ideas, he raises them to believe that they will be very successful and that school isn’t important, it’s important to be liked by everyone. Before Willy dies he talks about all the people that are going to visit his funeral and everyone will see how liked he was. Ironically no one shows up at his funeral but his family and the neighbors, hence vividly showing how much he actually achieved chasing his dream of being well liked.
Ben from “Death of a Salesman” the brother of Willy believes that the American Dream is the ability to start with nothing and somehow to achieve a great fortune “William when I waked into the jungle I was seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty one. And by God I was rich!” Throughout the play Willy is portrayed as envious of his brother. Willy’s wife is rather not pleased with his presence, she sees Ben as mischievous character that is up to no good. This can be seen when Ben comes over and is playing around with Biff, once Biff starts winning the sparring match Ben trips his and points his umbrella at Biff’s head. Ben believes that only...

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