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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 Throughout Death of a Salesman the males of the Loman family cannot distinguish between the reality of the American Dream and the illusion of it. Willy cannot see who Happy and Biff actually are as individuals or himself for that matter. Therefore, Willy and his sons believe that they all know and have what it takes to be a success in life and in business. In actuality the success of both falls very far from the ideal American Dream of their time. In the entirety of this play Willy Loman fights back and forth with reality about his two sons and himself, being how he thinks they should be. He thinks that being well liked by having personal attractiveness is the key to prosperity. Towards the beginning of the play, Willy falls back in time to a place where Biff and Happy were perfect sons. Biff is playing football like Willy wanted him too and Happy trying hard to acquire Willy’s attention at all costs. Willy tends to center himself on Biff and all the potential that he thinks he has. Happy seems to just to get washed out during the play by the constant focus on Biff. In the very beginning of the play where it is set in the present Willy says, “Biff is a lazy bum!” (Miller 1938). Then changing his mind by saying that Biff is lost but is a hard worker and “he’s not lazy” (1938). Willy cannot seem to hold on to the reality that Biff cannot achieve success in his life and forget the illusion that he will fulfill his dreams. Biff states the reality clearly here, “Pop, I’m a dime a dozen and so are you” (2000). Willy cannot seem to turn his life into his dream and comes to terms in the end by taking his life. During the play Biff and Happy talk day after day about their American dream but never quite start the steps to achieve it. They both struggle all their young lives. Biff tries to rebel against Willy in the beginning by failing math and moving out west. Happy, on the other hand tries so very hard to gain the attention of his father for example, by exclaiming, “I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?” (1947).

Free Death of a Salesman Essays: Four Characters

Death Of A Salesman: Four Characters

The play “Death Of A Salesman” , the brainchild of Arthur Miller was transformed and fitted to the movie screen in the year 1986. The play itself is set in the house of Willy Loman, and tells the melancholy story of a salesman whom is in deep financial trouble, and the only remedy for the situation is to commit suicide. In the stage production of this tale, the specific lighting, set, and musical designs really give the story a strong undertow of depression. And logically the screen and stage productions both differ greatly in regards to the mood they set. Moreover the movie production can do many things that just cannot be done on stage, with reference to the setting of course. To generalize, the play gives us a good hard look at the great American Dream failing miserably. However the combination of both the stage and screen productions accurately depict the shortcomings of the capitalist society.

Death of a Salesman specifically focuses on four characters, the first being the main character Willy Loman, his wife Linda, and their two sons Hap and Biff Loman. As mentioned, the focal point of this play is Willy Loman, a salesman in his early sixties. Throughout the story we are told the hard life, emotions and triumphs of Willy the salesman. Early in the play we learn that he has recently been demoted to working for commission, which later in the play,(on par with his luck) translates into Willy getting fired. As the plot unfolds we discover that Willy had a rich brother who recently died named Ben, whom Willy looked upon with great admiration for becoming extremely wealthy and the ripe old age of 21. However Willy also becomes very depressed when Ben leaves, the fact being that he re-realizes the meagerness of his own life, and that he is still making payments on all of his possessions. Willy then comprehends that bye the time his worldly possessions are paid for…they shall no longer be of any use. For example, the Loman house has become virtually unnecessary now that the two sons have moved out. It isn’t until after Willy’s death that the final mortgage payment is made….for a house with no one inside it. The one example of this statement is given by Linda during the final paragraph of the play,

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