An Analysis of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman, a Play by Arthur Miller

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 17

Traditionally the American dream means oppurtunity and freedom, but Willy Loman s version is more focused on the accumulation of wealth and material objects. Willy s dream becomes such an important aspect of his life, that he kills himself when he finally realizes he is unable to achieve it. Mr. Lowman blames his failure on a changing society and the Americain system, but he is the primary reason behind his inability to succeed.

Willy has neither the talent or nor personality to be a salesman. He is idealistic, stubborn, and he has a false sense of his importance in the world. The most important part of being a salesman isn t selling the product, but selling yourself, and how can anyone expect to sell a product or himself if they think that there re foolish and incompetent.

Furthermore, Willy continues to believe how important he is to his profession and that the world will come to a screeching halt if he were to stop being a salesman. He never realizes that there are a thousand other Willies out there, and that the world will hardly take notice of the departure of New England s Greatest Salesman. Mr. Lowman is just another old broken-down man who never was really that good at his job.

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He also never does anything to help his situation, he just escapes into the past, whether intentionally or not, he lives his life in the past where times were happier and his problems were scarce. Mr. Lowman s refusal to accept reality is so strong, that his mind transports him back into a time where he was happy with his life. It was a time when no one argued, Willy and Linda were younger, the financial situation was less of a burden, and Biff and Happy enthusiastically welcomed their father back home from a long road trip.

Stubbornness also greatly hinders his success in life. Charley practically sets a potential job into Willy s lap, but he refuses it. Willy is too proud to let go of his old job and take a new one. Even though he was just fired, he still believes that he is at the top of his profession, and that his success is just around the corner. He knows he needs a job, but won t accept Charley s offer, because he hates him for being successful when he is barely scrapping by. As Willy tries to live out his version of the American dream, he venerates those who have been successful at doing so, like Ben and Charley. Furthermore, he punishes those who do not work towards that ideal or accomplish it, such as Biff, and more importantly himself.

Charley says something to Willy in Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman that sums up his whole life. He asks Willy, "When the hell are you going to grow up?" Mr. Lowman spends his entire life in an illusion. Willy still dreams of being successful and never lets go of his wasted life and dreams. Even in the time before he takes his life, Willy never comes to grips with his failure as a salesman, father, and husband.

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An Analysis of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman, a Play by Arthur Miller. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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