Authors have been known to use the American Dream as part of a theme in many
of their works. The American Dream is sought out to be the full pursuit of happiness that one is capable of obtaining. It consists of an individual dream based on determination, labor, and well defined rules of behavior. To find the American Dream, one must seize the moment to acquire greatness. In Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman, he portrays Willy Loman as the seeker of the American Dream. Willy has trouble finding this “dream” because he did not necessarily enjoy everything he did in his life, although he did work hard at trying to achieve his dream.
Willy Loman is the main character in the play. He is an insecure, self-deceived traveling salesman. He is a lower middle-class working man, a status he retains throughout the play. Willy believes wholeheartedly that the American Dream will give him easy success and wealth. Throughout the play he presents himself as a more important, successful man than he really is. When he begins to lose his own power and his illusions to the reality of his actual conditions, Willy’s mental health begins to dwindle.
There are many reasons why Willy cannot fulfill his idea of the American Dream. In the beginning of the play he tells his wife about his recent excursion to New York. As he depicts
how he almost got into an accident, he explains that it is because of his constant dreaming. Willy states, “I absolutely forgot I was driving. If I’d’ve gone the other way over the white line I might’ve killed somebody. So I went on again-and five minutes later I’m dreamin’ again, and I nearly-I have such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts”(1797). The thoughts that Willy Loman thinks about are most likely having the American Dream. He dreams as if he is already there or what it would be like if he was there. All of his