Marxist Death of a Salesman

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Death of a salesman

Is society to blame when the installation of hope in the American Dream backfires? The major theme in Death of a Salesman was the pursuit of this dream. Miller details Willy Loman’s misguided quest of this dream. Arthur Miller’s depiction of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman was written in postwar America. At that time, the idea was more than just a phrase; it was a way of life. In efforts to further the reader’s understanding of the story, one must define the American Dream. After World War II, the United States flourished economically. The idea of prosperity was the root of the American Dream. The idea of capitalism was reborn and by living in a capitalist society, everyone in America had a chance to become rich and successful. To put it simply, the American Dream was defined as “an American ideal of a happy and successful life to which all may aspire: … the American Dream represented a reaffirmation of traditional American hopes.” Miller makes the reader realize the dream is a falsehood, because it is not for everyone. In the play, Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is a perfect example of someone who is trying to pursue this dream.

Based on the works of Karl Marx and his reversal of Hegelian philosophy, Marxism has developed into a political direction and a social theory. The social aspect contains two social classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. This type of capitalist society is relevant in the play by Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. In the play, a dedicated salesman Willy Loman struggles to aid his family near his retirement. Inevitably, Willy is part of Marx’s proletariat classes and lies to cheat himself into believing he is of higher class. The influence of Willy’s lies is apparent in his oldest son Biff, who is able to analyze his father’s dream and attempts to gain more in life than that of the proletariat. By accepting the materialistic ideals of Marxism, Willy Loman and his son Biff, both struggle to...
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