Death of a Salesman


Seeking the American Dream of Success Arthur Miller?s " Death of A Salesman" could be described as a study in the American Dream ideology, a system that at times is indescribably brutal and at other times compassionates. Author Miller's plays are usually associated with real life issues filled with failure and disappointment. The author's main character, Willy Loman, is a traveling salesman that spends his whole lifetime trying to find success based on looks and popularity. Willy Loman is a product of this ever-increasing society, obsessed with measuring success by popularity and material wealth and unfortunately emphasizing these principles upon his family. For Willy Loman, to be liked was the definitive criterion of life success. The American dream of wealth and luck became Willy?s dream, and it almost became reality. Willy realizes that in fact he has lived his life in vain, never achieving nor succeeding but remaining a shadow of his ambition. It is this sudden insight that urges him into a fantasy, afraid to face the future. It is only through Willy?s failure as a salesman that his innate desire for the outdoors is exposed. At the end of the play, Charley mentions, "? He was a happy man with a batch of cement ? so wonderful with his hands ? he had the wrong dreams, all wrong.". It has been often said that the play emphasize the path not taken may have been the right one, still Willy holds the inability to see who and what he is. Miller has created Willy?s wife Linda in such a way, that it is difficult to confirm whether she is a positive or destructive force upon him. It is hard to understand why she allows this deception to rise to the level that it does. The love Linda holds for Willy is relentless. She sees herself as his protector, allowing him to laps into his illusions where he feels contentment. But in her love for her husband she is ironically his destroyer. Linda in her admiration for Willy also accepts his dream, which turns out fatal. She allows him to kill himself never letting on that she knows about the attempted suicides. The character most harmfully affected by Willy?s pursuit of the "Great American Dream" is his eldest son Biff. Similarly, they are both impractical, one by the consequences of disillusionment, the other by illusions themselves. Still looking for his purpose in life, Biff persists, due to Willy. While still in high school Biff?s future was assured, and was tremendously well liked, but it all came down soon afterwards "just because he printed University of Virginia on his sneakers doesn?t mean their going to graduate him!" Discovering his father shattered the vision he held of him. Biff, paralyzed by reality comes to the realization that in fact there is more to life than being well liked and football. Now after searching, Biff comes to terms with exactly who and what he is: "? I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw ? the sky. I saw the things I love in this world ? and I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don?t want to be?I am not a leader of men ? Pop I?m a dime a dozen, and so are you." Happy, the youngest son of the Lomans unfortunately is not able to see himself for what he is. A direct opposite of his brother he never realizes his father?s fallacy of "be well liked and you shall never want". Less favored by his family, he is constantly seeking out approval. " I?m getting married, Pop, don?t forget it. I?m changing everything. I?m gonna run that department before the year is up. You?ll see, Mom." This statement showing that Hap hasn?t realized the fictitious part of his fathers dreams. He will carry on the routine" and live the life of salesman. "? I?m staying right in this city and I?m gonna beat this racket ?he had a good dream. It?s the only dream a man can have ? to come out number one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I?m gonna win it for him." Arthur Miller portrayal of the Loman family places emphasis on the man struggling to