As a Salesman myself, I feel that I can relate to Death of a Salesman, to the extent of understanding what the job entails. In this essay, I shall depict the effects that socialism had on the characters of Death of a Salesman. I will include the social struggle of society, the contradictions involved, and the ideas of success, the character’s goals, and Willy’s downfall. I shall also include how Socialism has affected the real world and our nation’s society.
Willy Loman’s world enticed him to become something he was not. Society placed a burden upon Willy’s head, of which he could not bare. “But he was agonized by his awareness of being in a false position, so constantly haunted by the hollowness of all he had placed his faith in, so aware, in short, that he must somehow be filled in his spirit or fly apart, that he staked his very life on the ultimate assertion” (Miller 1594). Miller’s statement implies that Willy was in such a rut, knowing that he could not afford to pay for his appliances or even for his automobile, that he risked everything to succeed. The government however, in Willy’s world, defined what succeeding really is. “Socialism means the substitution of governmental judgment for that of the individual and for individual ambition as well” (Myers 3). Willy’s ambitions involved obtaining a new career closer to his family and being able to afford all of his material objects. “Committed himself so completely to the counterfeits of dignity and the fake coinage embodied in his idea of success that he can prove his existence only by bestowing ‘power’ on his posterity, a power deriving from the sale of his last asset, himself” (Miller 1594). It is clear that the government played a major role in creating those ambitions. Biff’s social struggle included living up to his father’s expectations, of which his father did not necessarily approve of, until the end of the
playwright. The government as a whole decided what was acceptable in society, and what was not, which is true to this day.
Society has demanded a great deal from its inhabitants for thousands of years, especially in the United States. We soak up the governments and large corporation’s idealism everyday through nearly every source of entertainment we consume. A good example of true socialism would be a class-system, such as in central Asia, specifically China and India. For many years the Chinese and Indians have accepted a socialistic way of life, judging and ranking their citizens merely by blood-line and skin-color. For instance, both countries considered lighter (paler) skinned individuals as having a higher status compared to darker-skinned individuals. Therefore, even today, the sales of large amounts of skin-lightening creams exist in the Asian market.
The largest contradiction I have come to understand is that exerting too much effort into an ideal ultimately ends in disaster. We witness this by examining Willy Loman. He, as a salesman, has an extremely stressful lifestyle. He ponders as to what he will do about his son Biff, and how he will be able to afford his bills. His lust for existence drove him mad, and eventually became the exact thing that invoked his demise.
The ideas of success vary between characters in Death of a Salesman. Happy understood success as being able to provide for his family, more than merely financially. He always made statements on how him and Biff would open a sporting goods store, and be successful. Willy’s idea of success, in my opinion, was confirming his existence in society as a hard-working, honorable American. He however, drove himself mad as life-events spiraled downwards. Biff pursued to do something with his life, making his father happy in the process. Biff provides evidence of struggle by suggesting “When all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still – that’s...