Willy Loaman, The True Salesman For The America Dream

1310 words - 5 pages

In the play Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller depicts the dissolution of the American family as well as the decline of the prosperous lifestyle that defined past American generations; illustrating the theme of America decadence. From page one the idea is set in motion by Miller that “the mighty have fallen”; that America society clearly is no longer a place of opportunity. In this play Miller puts forward that idea that opportunities of past generation in areas such as education and vocation are now nonexistent. A new America is being defined by Miller and his play illustrates is a complete rework of contemporary America. However, Miller is not just able to define a new society on his own. As with other Arthur Miller plays the character present in this play are extremely helpful in Miller development. Upon developing this theme of decadence Miller establishes character such as Willy, and Biff. In the play Willy is a good natured, local salesman who travels from place to place providing for his family, the consummate father figure symbolic of past America. While the character Biff is a lazy, uneducated, womanizer who cannot find a job, symbolic of present America. These characters, along with distinct traits provide additional support for Miller overwhelming argument that America clearly has become fissured from his greatness.
In the play Death of a Salesman one way Miller establishes his theme of decadence is through the idea that work is nonexistent. During the 20th century when American became such a nation of opportunity, the availability of jobs never tired. However, continuing with this theme of decadence, present as a theme, nobody in this play is able find a job. For example, the youngest members of the family Biff and Happy are out of work and are living with their parents “Hap, I’ve had twenty or thirty different kinds of jobs since I left home before the war, and it always turns out the same… I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not getting’ anywhere” (22). Additionally, the other man of the house, Willy, (family source of income for many years) is also in need of employment (Howard, Willy Boss) “I don’t want you to represent us. I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time now” (83). This inability to find employment in this play sets a precedent for the reader as we see that employment, such a critically part of the American dream is unavailable. This fundamental idea that employment is unavailable in this version of America establishes that depravity has set into America society. Furthermore, another faction of Miller plan is establishing the theme of decadence through his characters vocalizations. In this play Miller links the ideals of past Americas with Willy and on the particular issue of work, and Willy is very vocal. In the play Willy discusses past glory days where almost everybody had a job however, in today society nobody can find employment “And he was eighty-four years old, and he’d drummed merchandise in thirty-one...

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