"Willy Loman's Idealistic American Dream and the Victimization that Ensues"... in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"

Essay by Tweety86High School, 12th gradeA, January 2003

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Who does not want to live the perfect life, the American Dream? Throughout Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is in pursuit of this Dream. Willy focuses on the idealistic American dream his entire life, associating it with financial success, an excellent reputation and being well liked. He makes victims of his wife and of his sons by subjecting them to mistreatment and deprivation of a strong male role model. According to the Webster's Dictionary a victim is one who is subjected to oppression, hardship or mistreatment. Willy puts far too much pressure on his elder son Biff, not enough on his younger son Happy, and he makes a "yes-woman" out of his doting wife Linda. Willy's ideas of the American Dream outweigh the realistic trials and tribulations that need to be overcome in order to achieve the Dream.

The American Dream is one of success and Willy views success as being well liked.

He wants Biff to be well liked and hence puts much pressure on him to be popular. During Willy's flashbacks to 1929, Willy encourages Biff to be a good football player rather than a good student. Willy pays so much attention to Biff and puts so much pressure on him to succeed and to be well liked that Biff does not have anything concrete (such as marks) as a backup. Willy believes that even though Bernard can get the best marks in school, that he will not survive in the business world because he is not well liked (Miller 33). Biff wants to live up to his father's dreams. He wants his dad to be proud of him. Before the football game at Ebbets Field, Biff promises "to break through for a touchdown," just for his dad (32). As a teenager, and...