StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Death of a Salesman and the American Dream - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet

Extract of sample
Death of a Salesman and the American Dream

It would therefore be too simplistic to advocate an interpretation that denigrated the pursuit of the American Dream as a sole causal factor. To be sure, the text does not bear out such a narrow reading; the fact is that Willy Loman's own personal interpretation of the American Dream, rather than the American Dream itself, led to his downfall and to his personal failures.
As a preliminary matter, Willy Loman viewed the American Dream as a sort of hoax that the clever played on their fellow citizens. Wealth and success were obtained by misdirection, by charm, rather than through hard work and sincere relationships with other people. Early on in the play he proclaims that charm is the superior virtue, rather than talent or hard work, by stating "The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want" (Miller, 1949: Act 1). Being liked is not normally a sole basis for success in the American business world. To be sure, many of the most successful businessmen are despised and feared. The text, therefore, cannot be construed as an attack on the American Dream in and of itself. ...
His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person" (Miller, 1949: Act 1). His own wife admits that her husband may have pursuing something other than the American Dream. Willy had been pursuing a sense of recognition, a boost to his own self-importance, and attention from the people around him. These pursuits, while understandable, are not necessarily those associated with the American Dream. In the final analysis, Willy's attempts to be well-liked affected his life in ways which made the American Dream less accessible for him.
In addition, this superficiality was buttressed by Willy Loman's view that the American Dream was achieved individually rather than with the help of friends or family. He didn't identify himself as being a part of a team or as a part of a larger whole. Instead, he attempted to make the dream his own by setting himself up as something greater than other people. When asked about his interest in moving, Willy responds "They don't need me in New York. I'm the New England man. I'm vital in New England" (Miller, 1949: Act 1). He is neither a contributor nor a simple salesman. He views himself as vital, as more important than other people or the company, and in this way begins to define the American Dream according to his own ego. In addition, rather than focussing on hard work, a cornerstone of the American Dream as it is more commonly understood, Willy interprets it as flowing from charm rather than discipline, integrity, or hard work. At one ...Show more


This literary masterpiece by Arthur Miller, the Death of a Salesman, is too often described as the fallibility of the American Dream. It has become almost common lore to treat this text as a manifestation of its author's distaste for the pursuit of money and material success…
Author : brenda97
Death of a Salesman and the American Dream essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Death of a Salesman and the American Dream"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Death of a Salesman
Depictions of flashbacks in today’s cinemas are backed by technological developments. But in 1949 when no such hi-tech nuances were available, flashback scenes were deployed in the same spirit as of today. That is, the soul of flashback cast was well realized and made use of by Miller.
2 pages (500 words) Essay
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Death of a Salesman
The Lost Father In The Death Of A Salesman (Fix). The first impression audience gets from reading this title is that of disassociation, social exclusion and abandonment. This impression is intensified by the adage that immediately follows the title of the novel, which reads, “What we can’t see is more important than what we can see” (Brater cited in Fix).
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Is death of a salesman an example of what's good, bad, or both of the American Dream
In his play Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller has portrayed picture of a desperate family whose head is running after a luxurious life. The play ironically portrays the American dream and to the extent people can go to achieve this dream. In this paper we will attempt to throw more light on the material success that is worshipped by the capitalist society of America.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Description of the Death of a Salesman as an anatomy of the American dream
Death of a Salesman, an Anatomy of the American Dream. Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller is an anatomy of the American dream. American dream as portrayed by American government is success for all who ever excels but Willy Lowman, the protagonist of the play fails to achieve that success in the course of the play.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
The significance of the fact that death of a salesman is subtitled
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman has a subtitle of “private conversations in two acts and a requiem.” The reason for this is because Willy has private conversations throughout the play with himself, as he lives inside his head because reality was too tough to bear.
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Compare and contrast the treatment of the American dream in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman
It is no doubt that people from all walks of life have longed to come to America one day to build themselves successful life. This is because it is depicted as a land of opportunity that everyone full of good things. The “American Dream” in this case implies that through hard work and perseverance, anyone can become financially successful and powerful in the future.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
In Death of a Salesman Willie Loman believes that the American Dream is to be wellliked and very wellknown by everyone. Write an essay on why you do not believe that Willie Loman does not live up to his expectation of the American Dream
The portrayal of the American Dream in the play made both the playwright, Arthur Miller, and the protagonist, Willy Loman, household names. In the play, the delusions of Willy Loman, a washed up salesman, make him believe that he is still highly dexterous and diligent, and a number of such delusions, which he no longer held toward the end of the play, are the basis of the arguments that Death of a Salesman is an important work dealing with the American Dream.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Death of a Salesman and the American Dream
A closer reading of the text, and a more careful analysis of the characters, demonstrates that the fatal flaws may reside in the characters rather than in the romantic American ideal.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
In Death of a Salesman Willie Loman believes that the American Dream is to be well-liked and very well-known by everyone. Write an essay on why you do not believe that Willie Loman does not live up to his expectation of the American Dream
In the play, the delusions of Willy Loman, a washed up salesman, make him believe that he is still highly dexterous and diligent, and a number of such
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
The Significance of Death of a Salesman Subtitle
The significance of the term “private conversations” is the fact that Willy has conversations with himself, inside his head. This means, of course, that the conversation is very private as it is between himself and nobody else. The play starts out as Willy is recounting one of these conversations with himself.
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Hire a pro to write
a paper under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Contact Us