The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 263
  • Published : November 30, 2007
Open Document
Text Preview
The American Dream

"Death of a Salesman", by Arthur Miller, illustrates and personifies the idea of achieving eternal happiness through the pursuit of the American Dream. The American Dream meant the idea that anyone could become a success no matter what they started with. You did whatever it took to become successful in the business world. According to the theory, all you needed was to be hard-working, have perseverance, and show some personality. It was believed that the only thing that you needed, to become successful, was to be well liked, if you were well liked you will go far in life. This overlying theme is still present in today's society.

In this particular novel, Miller presents the failure of the theory of the American Dream and the effect on the Loman family, how it ruins the life of Willy, and destroys the life of Willy's son, Biff, as well. Willy, an elderly, traveling salesman, around his late sixty's, was caught in the uproar of the success that was basically promised from America. Well, this promise was broken because of the terrible effects from The Great Depression and World War II starting in the late 1930's. Success is defined as being a well-liked business man. This was Willy's childish way to become successful. As Willy grew up, his American Dream was able to "pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, make his living."(Miller, 81). Willy believes that this luxury would come from being such a well known and respected business man that he would be able to support his family at that age. Willy's American Dream has become more of a total nightmare. The reasoning for this is because Willy is receiving no income from his job. The sales firm he works for is no longer paying Willy his salary. Therefore, Willy is now working solely on commission. This wouldn't be that bad of a situation if Willy was an exceptional, or even average, at best, business man. Willy was neither of the...
tracking img