Applied Literary Arts
26 February 2013
Arthur Miller penned Death of a Salesman in an ever-changing period, the 1950s. During this time, many Americans were stepping back for a bit of self-analysis, both as a county, and as individuals. This is present in Death of a Salesman, as well as another well-known work, an essay by John Steinbeck, “Paradox and Dream.” In this Steinbeck analyzes the state of America and what exactly it is they’re striving for(Thomas). In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller takes on a similar task, providing commentary on what the American Dream is through Willy Loman and his family. Since then, Death of a Salesman has become one of the most well known, renowned plays in American theater for it’s interpretation of the American Dream. The presence of dreams in the play is highly debated. Some critics contest that the American Dream may not be in it at all, while others simply discuss which interpretation of a truly “American Dream” Miller portrays through the Lomans. It is most easily said, that Arthur Miller wrote Death of a Salesman to bring the American Dream to light, rather than to give a clear, concise answer as to what it is.
To begin, readers shall look at the first case of American Dream in Death of a Salesman, Willy’s son Biff. Biff is the character in the play most torn between what the true definition of the American Dream is. Coincidently, Biff becomes the character who is most clear as to what his definition of the American Dream is. When readers meet Biff, he seems to be on the same path, as his father, chasing the same rendition of the American dream. While Biff doesn’t get particularly impressive grades, he makes up for it in charisma, and by being held in high regard amongst his classmates. So, initially Willy and Biff have a mutual understanding of the American dream, but Biff’s interest in the outdoor life and working with his hands began to pull him away from his initial dream of a world in...
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