Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, uses textual references to show Miller's opinion that the American dream is difficult or impossible in today's capitalistic society.

Essay by superddHigh School, 12th gradeA, January 2003

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In today's capitalist economy, many strive for the same goal and while some are met with success, most are left with nothing but shattered dreams and low wages. Arthur Miller wrote his play "Death of a Salesman" as a satire on the American Dream and what he saw as the futile pursuit and false ideals that accompanied the dream. Through Willy Loman's treatment of his friends and family, his tendency to lie, and his perception of people around him, Arthur Miller shows how difficult it is for the modern worker to achieve the American Dream.

The relationship between Willy Loman and his friends and family reveals Willy's ideals and his feelings throughout the play. Always pushing his son Biff to "find himself" and get a good job, Willy creates tension in the family, always trying to live vicariously through his favorite son. He gets frustrated with his own position at the Wagner Company and takes it out on Biff, calling him "a lazy bum" and declaring that "not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace" (1248).

In reality, Willy, at sixty years old, is struggling to pay his bills and remains low in the company as a traveling salesman. Living in his own fantasy world, Willy refuses to accept the facts of his financial status. His wife, Linda, makes excuses for him and tries her best to make ends meet but Willy doesn't even allow her to accept their situation and yells "I won't have you mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out!" while giving away stockings to other women in Boston (1262). Willy attempts to appear well off to others by denying his debt and buying gifts for his mistresses while he knows that the family cannot afford luxuries. Willy's only friend, and...