The play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller encapsulates within its tight-lipped plot, fall of a myth pertaining to American Dream and its vision that “success is obtained by being well-liked”. The essay intends to perceive and examine the theme of American Dream and its failure closely woven within the plot of the play that sets challenges to the capitalistic concepts and desires of new America.
Arthur Miller was born on October 17th in the year of 1915 and expired on 10th February 2005. He was an eminent playwright and essayist from America. He was a very poignant figure in the American theatre and composed many important socio-political plays like “All My Sons (1947)”, “Death of a Salesman (1949)”, “The Crucible (1953)”, “A View from the Bridge (1955)” among others. Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” is acclaimed as the first great American tragedy and while projecting it, Miller gained name for the American to understand the true essence of the nation and its tragedy. As a university graduate, he witnessed the hollow pursuit of the good life entwined with the American Dream in the society of America. The disillusioned socio-economic perspective and dystopia led Miller to compose the play, “Death of a Salesman” which was only possible for a person like Miller who came up from the mundane and meagre streets of Harlem in New York and was able to witness the unveiled mask of American Dream.
The concept of American Dream operates at the national level in United States which includes a promise of freedom, possibility of prosperity and freedom and success. The definition of American Dream contended by James Torso Adams in the year 1931 was envisaged as “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” irrespective of social class or background. With this glittering vision in ...
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In fact, the Declaration of Independence aptly puts it that “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” 1 .
The concept of American Dream is seated in the “United States Declaration of Independence” which proclaims that “all men are equal”. It also believes that every human being irrespective of their social class or circumstances pertaining to their birth are “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights” which includes “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness” (Kamp, “Rethinking the American Dream”).
It is perhaps this background that largely informed their preoccupations with the themes of upward mobility and the American Dream. Indeed, writer Lorrie Moore called Wilson’s play ‘Fences’ “an African-American Death of a Salesmen”. Additionally, writing on the notion of this dream in ‘Death of a Salesman’ it’s that it noted that, “the post-industrial capitalist boom was the dream that constituted hard work, success, money, and freedom” (Masinski, xiv).
The story, based on Willy Loman as the main character, revolves around him to demonstrate a number of themes including the American dream. Miller majorly applies flashback to demonstrate, through Willy, the concept of the American dream and its impacts on people’s social, psychological, and economic lives.
The epic style of Bertolt Brecht which he describes in his work A short Organum for the Theatre, the Theatre of Cruelty, the Theatre of Oppression and others formed a movement that brought back a vitality to the stage that was missing from earlier forms of drama (Brecht 3).
In search for wealth and success, the society seemed to adapt to modern ways at the time due to the changing economic and business environment. Capitalism as a social economic system has been expressed in the story to have been a key determinant in the life of the main character, Willy Loman, and his family’s failure.
Unfortunately, most of the Americans still strongly believe that this preposterous ambition can be achieved. Achieving the American dream undoubtedly depends on an individual’s own definition of the dream, thus, causing many varieties to choose from. John Winthrop visualized a religious paradise in a “City upon a Hill”, while Martin Luther King, Jr.
less of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position” (Smith, 27). While reading through Miller’s Death of a Salesman, one can certainly identify the central character Willy Loman and his son Biff exactly following this concept and taste the bitter side of life where one loses his own life and the other his father.
(Name) (Tutor’s Name) (Date) ‘Death of a Salesman’: A Research Essay Arthur Miller’s death of a Salesman’ is a renowned play of the modern times set in the backdrop of a generation chasing the ‘great American dream’. The piece of art inspires people to accept the reality that they can achieve their ambitions in life only through hard work.
6 Pages(1500 words)Research Paper
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