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The American Dream in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

The American Dream in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman is centered around one man trying to reach the American dream and taking his family along for the ride. The Loman’s lives from beginning to end is a troubling story based on trying to become successful, or at least happy. Throughout their lives they encounter many problems and the end result is a tragic death caused by stupidity and the need to succeed. During his life Willy Loman caused his wife great pain by living a life not realizing what he could and couldn’t do. Linda lived sad and pathetic days supporting Willy’s unreachable goals. Being brought up in this world caused his children to lose their identity and put their futures in jeopardy.

Willy lived everyday of his life trying to become successful, well-off salesman. His self-image that he portrayed to others was a lie and he was even able to deceive himself with it. He traveled around the country selling his merchandise and maybe when he was younger, he was able to sell a lot and everyone like him, but Willy was still stuck with this image in his head and it was the image he let everyone else know about. In truth, Willy was a senile salesman who was no longer able to work doing what he’s done for a lifetime. When he reaches the point where he can no longer handle working, he doesn’t realize it, he puts his life in danger as well a others just because he’s pig-headed and doesn’t understand that he has to give up on his dream. He complains about a lot of things that occur in everyday life, and usually he’s the cause of the problems. When he has to pay for the repair bills on the fridge, he bitches a lot and bad mouths Charley for buying the one he should of bought. The car having to be repaired is only because he crashes it because he doesn’t pay attention and/or is trying to commit suicide. Willy should have settled with what he had and made the best of things. He shouldn’t have tied to compete with everyone and just made the best decision for him using intelligence and practicality. Many of Willy’s problems were self-inflicted, the reason they were self-inflicted was because he wanted to live the American dream. If he had changed his standards or just have been content with his life, his life problems would have been limited in amount and proportion.

Degraded Role of Women in The Merry Wives of Windsor

Degraded Role of Women in The Merry Wives of Windsor

In Shakespeare’s comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, there are two plots that ultimately converge into the concept of marriage; one is the antics executed by the wives, and the other is the marriage of Anne Page. Both of these plots subversively yield a disheartening attitude towards the view of women within the scope of the play. Wives in The Merry Wives of Windsor are not acknowledged as much beyond commodities, not to be entrusted to their own wills, and are considered anonymous, degraded figures by men. By examining the use of the word “wife”, the characters who use it most frequently, how it is used, and by examining the surrounding text and context, one can reach these unfortunate conclusions with undoubted certainty.

One quickly perceives this notion in the very first scene of the opening act. Slender and Evan’s assess Anne Page’s attributes in terms of what monetary value her dowry will endow upon her fortunate husband; both conclude that, “seven hundred pounds and possibilities is good gifts”(1.1.58-9). This attitude sets the stage, so to speak, and is suggestive of what meaning the women in the play shall have. Although it is the wives who are the manipulators of the ensuing pranks, it seems that the men are actually in control; they extend their alacrity for business and judicial affairs (which is established first in Pistol and Falstaff’s dispute with the others and later in Ford’s settlement against Falstaff for the twenty pounds and the men’s pretentious positions in Anne’s affairs) to the personal and connubial affairs of the women. In fact, the details driving the main plot of the play can, in themselves, be interpreted as a business transaction. …

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…also displays this limitation and acknowledges that he once viewed Anne Page as property. Fenton is reformed however, and to Anne admits that he, “…found thee of more value than stamps in gold or sums sealed in bags; and ’tis the very riches of thyself”(3.3.15-17). Considering eccentricity of all the male characters enlivens the plot and augments the depth of comedy. This analysis, by close attention to the use of the word ‘wife’ by those who use it most and the full context in which it appears, elucidates Shakespeare’s conceptualization of the nature of men and marriage and demonstrates that women are appreciated as only anonymous commodities, not entrusted to their own will and judgment in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. David Bevington. Sixth edition. New York: Harper Collings, 1998.

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