The American Dream - Death of Salesman

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There is something magical and sometimes overpowering to the majority of mankind: It is the thing that allows people to live in mansion's with helipad's as well as underground society forced to live in the many tunnels and passageways under New York City and to beg for their meals. Although this is definitely the extreme that I have described. It is sometimes indescribably cruel and other times very gracious. This thing that I write about is the American system. In Arthur Miller's moving and powerful play, "Death of a Salesman", Miller uses many character to contrast the difference between success and failure within the system. Willy is the dreamy salesman whose imagination is much larger than his sales ability, while Linda is Willy's wife who stands by her husband even in his absence of realism. Biff and Happy are the two blind mice who follows in there 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 Benard, on the other hand, enjoy better success in life compared to the Lomans.

The play romanticizes the rural-agrarian dream but does not make it genuinely 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 does not certainly condemn it. It is legitimate to ask where Miller is going. And the answer is that he has written a confused play because he has been unwilling or unable to commit himself to a firm position with respect to American culture. Miller prepares us for stock response-relief in escape to the West and the farm; firm satisfaction in the condemnation of the tawdry business ethic.1and then denies us the fulfillment of our expectations. The play makes, finally, no judgment on America, although Miller seems always on the verge of one, of telling us that America is a nightmare, a cause of and a home for tragedy. But Willy is not a tragic hero; he is a foolish and ineffectual man for whom we feel pity. We cannot equate his failure with America's (Eisinger .0 p. 174. Indeed, there is a lot of room for failure as well as great success in America. The system is not the one to blame. Willy can only blame himself for not becoming what he wanted to be.

The next character, Willy Loman's wife Linda, is not part of the solution but rather part of the problem with this dysfunctional family and their inability to see things for what they really are. Louis Gordon is in agreement stating, "Linda, as the eternal wife and mother, the fixed point of affection both given and received, the woman who suffers and endures, is in many ways, the earth mother who embodies the play's ultimate moral value, love. But in the beautiful, ironic complexity of her creation, she is also Willy's and their sons' destroyer. In her love Linda has accepted Willy's Greatness and his dream, but while in her admiration for Willy her love is powerful and moving, in her admiration for his dreams, it is lethal. She encourages Willy's dream, yet she will not let him leave her for the New Continent, the only realm where the dream can be fulfilled. She want to reconcile father and son, but she attempts this in the context of Willy's false values. She cannot allow her sons to achieve that selfhood that involves denial of these values" (Gordon p. 316). Linda is also caught up in Willy's lies and therefore does nothing but help fuel the fire in the inferno of their dreams and ambitions. She lets this whole masquerade continue right in front of her instead of doing something to stop their out of control lies. Also, Biff the oldest son, continues to search for his purpose in life. Due mainly to all the "hot air" Willy always feeds him, Biff continues to stumble in his fight for life. Biff has never had the ability to hold down a job very long due to his inability to take orders and do his time in the trenches before becoming a success at...
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