Death of Salesman

Category: Culture
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The play “Death of a Salesman” greatly portrays a specific ideology in regards to values, dreams, goals, and success in our society. It helps showcase the American dream that society tends to strive for even in the early 1900’s. That dream of being a successful business person. As well as the theory that image and physical attributes are most important to gaining fruition. Willy Loman plays a man in his sixties who has strived for this American dream for over 30 years but realistically has failed miserably on his goal in life. For Willy, his dream meant to be well liked and popular.

In fact, Willy declares to his son that “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). The dream is very superficial because Willy believes that people who appear good at first sight will be liked by everyone, but that’s not always the case. Willy was liked when he started his career, but as the times when no one paid attention to him. In Willys case, the presence of his American Dream is shattered when he was fired from his job.

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The reason behind this is Willy Loman’s inability to carry on working successfully. Miller uses Willy Loman’s brother Ben as an example of someone who has achieved the American Dream. From the play the audience knows that Ben accomplished the American Dream through his diamond mines. He says “…when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty one I walked out. And by God I was rich.” Willy looks up to his brother, and respects his views a lot. When Willy is hallucinating into the past, he thinks about the chance he had to join Ben, make his fortune and live his American Dream.

Willy exclaims, “Why didn’t I go to Alaska with my brother Ben that time!…that man was success incarnate! What a mistake!…” Willy did not take this chance and he regrets it, and he uses it an excuse for his failure. Even Biff talked about Willy’s dreams, “He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.” Miller shows how the American Dream is nothing but an illusion that Willy always wanted.

Willy Loman and Jay Gatsby both lie about their careers and their status to their family and friends. Willy Loman continually lies about how he is successful in his job and he is constantly working. “He drives seven hundred miles, and we he gets there no one knows him anymore, no one welcomes him. And what goes through a man’s mind, drives seven hundred miles home without having earned a cent? Why shouldn’t he talk to himself? Why? When he has to go to Charlie and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay? How long can that go on? How long?

You see what I’m sitting here waiting for?”(Miller). Willy Loman lies about his current status of his job because of his pride and not wanting to fail his family. He doesn’t know that his wife knew all along that he wasn’t getting the same amount of clients or money that he got before.

He’s very prideful because he was successful prior but now he is ageing and he has no more use for his job. Early in the novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby meets Daisy and they fall in love, but he lies to her about status and wealth in their society. He lied that he came from a wealthy family, even though he didn’t. He lied to Daisy because she came from a rich family and he wanted to be good enough for her. His dream was to be together with her, but because of different backgrounds he couldn’t.

Each author has its own views of American Dream, some are more happier than others. But both stories of Gatsby and Willy don’t turn out as they planned. Both planned for better future and dream, but the cruel reality caused them to fall. Gatsby had everything that he ever wanted, but his American Dream was to be with his true love Daisy, as a result of achieving it he pade a big price, his life. He had everything but still was poor. On the other hand Willy lived a normal life, surrounded by his family and his beloved sons and wife. He wasn’t as wealthy as others but still made decent money. But his illusions played a bad thrik on him, which led him to death.

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Death of Salesman. (2019, Oct 07). Retrieved from