"Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller.

Essay by heloqwenceCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2003

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Compared to third world countries, America is a golden land of opportunities where the "American Dream" can actually solidify into reality for immigrants as well as American citizens. This traditional social ideal emphasizes the belief that every person has the chance to achieve success and prosperity, however, this dream only comes true for those who adhere to the right method of achievement: hard work and dedication. In Arthur Miller's tragedy Death of a Salesman, the Loman family fails to achieve the American Dream because they accepted the delusion that success is obtained through superficial means. This false belief will differentiate Willy and his sons from Charley and Bernard, whose diligence and moral values prove to be their reason of triumph in the business world.

Willy desires the American Dream but is unable to make it a reality because he lacks the qualities of the "American Hero." Willy's temperament is extremely unstable.

He is easily frustrated and angered, and his mood is often shifting. Willy searches for reassurance from those around him, in order to cope with a puzzling and unsupportive world. For example, Willy forces his wife Linda to act in exact conformity to his psychological and physical needs, and he will not tolerate any form of separation. He never allows her to speak her own mind and she is only there to support him and his ideas. He won't even allow her to engage in one of her favorite pastimes, mending stockings, in his presence because he is unhappy and wants Linda to suffer along with him(39).

The American Dream that Willy covets is composed of unattainable tasks. He dreams of a tight-knit family, material inheritance to leave behind, and most of all, wealth and prestige. To be successful, Willy believes that a man simply needs to be well...