Death of A Salesman
“ The American Dream created the Loman family nightmare.” Discuss.
“ The American dream has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development. …Epitomizing the democratic ideals and aspirations on which America had been founded, the American way of life …developed for the benefit of the simple human being of any and every class.” J.T. ADAMS - The epic of America (1938)
Playwright 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 benevolent. Willy Loman is a product of this ever increasing capitalist society, obsessed with making it, measuring success by popularity and material wealth and unfortunately impressing these misguided principles upon his family. He is by no means a tragic hero but a victim; a naive and ineffectual man for whom we as the reader feel pity.
For Willy Loman, to be liked, and well liked at that was the definitive criterion of life success. The American dream of affluence and fortuity became Willy’s dream, and once for the Lomans, it almost became reality. Now in his mid sixties, Willy accepts that
Now after a history of wayward roaming, Biff comes to terms with exactly who and what he is: "" I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw - the sky. It is puzzling to understand why she allows this masquerade to escalate to the level that it does. I"tmm gonna run that department before the year is up. 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"tms the only dream a man can have - to come out number one man. It is not an attack upon the American system but an evidence of the systems possible effectiveness. " This statement showing that Hap hasn"tmt realized the phony part of his fathers dreams. Less favored by nature and his family, he is constantly seeking out approval. But in her love for her husband she is ironically his destroyer. A bitter reminder of what could have been, showing that upon steady utilization of one"tms ability ,the "American Dream" can be obtained. It is this sudden insight that spurs him into a fantasy world of reflection, afraid to face the future. It has been often said that " the play romanticizes the rural - agrarian dream" constantly emphasizing that, perhaps the path not taken may have been the right one, still Willy holds the inability to see who and what he is. "" I"tmm staying right in this city and I"tmm gonna beat this racket "he had a good dream.