Death of a Salesman is centred on the character of Willy, and this character is used to portray the downside of the American dream. Willy’s search for the American dream led to his downfall, alongside with many internal problems. Since the American dream is part of the American Society’s culture it is also to blame for Willy’s downfall.
The American society has always had the American dream as part of its culture and almost everyone in America believes in the American dream. The American dream was and still is the belief that everyone in the United States can achieve success and prosperity, specifically wealth. Willy misunderstood the concept of the American dream, he believed that having a good personality, and being well liked would lead to success. He wanted to have a lot of wealth so that he could have all the luxurious things that could be seen as better than his neighbour. This can be seen in how Willy always wanted to be better than Charley but Charley had more success than Willy. This Willy did not understand as he was not good looking or even ‘well liked’. Therefore due to his hubris he refused to accept failure and he stubbornly stuck to his beliefs that contributed to his downfall.
Due to Willy’s obsessions of fitting into the American society by pursuing the American dream he strained the relationship he had with his family especially with Biff. Their relationship had been strained for over sixteen years. This relationship was crushed in Boston when Biff found Willy cheating on his mother; Biff had always looked up to his father until that day. He refuses to take responsibility but chooses to criticise Biff, instead trying to restore their relationship. This is seen when he says
“How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life?”
Willy did not realise the value of love and security that he should have given his family but instead he deluded himself in
Bibliography: http://www.gradesaver.com/death-of-a-salesman/study-guide/short-summary/ http://www.litcharts.com/files/pdf/printer/deathofasalesman-LitChart.pdf