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The Failure Of The American Dream In "Death Of A Salesman" By Arthur Miller.

1207 words - 5 pages

All people -- from millionaires with mansions living on the hilltops to the poor and unhealthy bums living on the streets -- have one goal: to reach their fullest ability, or achieve their American Dream. The above examples are the extremes of an American system in which wealth and status decide your friends, future, and well-being. Personally, I think the American Dream is to attain the status that you desire -- whether it is social prosperity or affluence. Everyone's definition is different with the American dream as it can be viewed from many different aspects; if you were born poor, it would be to reach a decent life, but if you were well-off, your American Dream would differ from the former. Although the American Dream fails for many individuals, it is not the American system's fault; instead, it is due to a lack of hard work and dedication from the pursuers.In Arthur Miller's play, "Death of a Salesman", Miller uses many different characters to contrast the difference between the successes and failures of the American system. Willy is the long time salesman who has little sales ability but his imagination makes up for it. Linda, Willy's wife, has always been with him even through the deterioration of his practicality. Biff and Happy are the two sons who follow in their father's fallacy of life, while Ben is the only member of the Loman family with that special something needed to achieve. Charlie and his son Bernard, on the other hand, enjoy better success in life compared to the Loman family.The play displays the rural-agrarian dream but does not make it clearly available to Willy. Miller seems to use this dream merely to give himself an opportunity for sentimentality. The play is ambiguous in its attitude toward the business success dream, but it does not condemn it. "Death of a Salesman" makes no judgment on America, although Miller seems always on the verge of one, telling us that America is a nightmare and a cause for tragedy. But Willy does not end up a tragic hero, but a foolish and ineffectual man for whom we feel pity. Although there is enormous room for failure, there are also many opportunities for great success in America; the system is not the one to blame, but only those who cannot grasp onto these chances. Willy can only blame himself for not making himself a successful salesman.The next character, Willy's wife Linda, is not part of the solution, but rather, she is another addition to the problem -- she adds to their dysfunctional family and their inability to see things for what they really are. She never points out to Willy the problems she sees or is having but rather puts them away to try and please Willy. Linda accepts Willy's greatness and his dream, but at the same time her admiration for his dreams cause problems. She encourages his dream, but she will not let him live his dreams by leaving to a place where it can be fulfilled. Linda is also caught up in Willy's lies and therefore does nothing but help fuel the fire...

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