Failure in Achievnig the American Dream

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“In The Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller shows the failure to achieve the American Dream that we all strive for can lead to drastic decisions by using irony, symbolism, and allusions. For example, Biff Loman in The Death of a Salesman tells Willy Loman “I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like the rest of them!”” (Miller 132). This quote is ironic mostly because Willy never thought of himself as just some simple hard-working drummer, this is a slap in Willy’s face with a taste of reality this was the turning point in Willy’s mind that I believe made him make such a decision so suddenly.

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Willy was a man who could never take criticism yet was the one in The Death of a Salesman who dished it out the most, from Linda, Biff, Happy, Howard, Bernard, and Charley he was always the one to criticize them for their viewpoints or actions they took.

Another example when the book first start “A melody is heard, played upon a flute” (Miller 11) in The Death of a Salesman Willy Loman’s father was a flute salesman, he just so happened to disappear, to go after his American Dream or maybe because he failed to achieve it. This is alluding to Willy Loman giving up on his American Dream once he is fired from his job by Howard, who doesn’t give a damn about his dream but only about money. Willy Loman was too caught up in his own American Dream to think about his children’s own dreams, which was the same mistake Willy’s father made.

A final example is when Willy Loman uses symbolism, Willy talks about these seeds “Gee, on the way home tonight I’d like to buy some seeds” (Miller 72). These seeds in The Death of a Salesman symbolize what he has set in stone for his kids after he dies. Later on this page, Linda says “ But not enough sun gets back there. Nothing’ll grow anymore”. This symbolizes the light shining in Willy when he was a hard-working salesman now he has nothing for his children and nothing to write a legacy about. Willy realizes this and then decides to try to plant some seeds, so he can have something left for his kids when he dies.

In Conclusion, Arthur Miller in The Death of a Salesman used Irony, Symbolism, and Allusion to show the reader the drastic decisions that one will make just because something so little as a dream is crushed. The American Dream that Willy Loman set forth was not a difficult he just relied on others too much and this ended up making him ironically hate everyone all after all failed. Willy never blamed himself, he always put the blame on someone else except when it came to that one needed decision of going to Alaska with Ben; which in the end was his biggest regret.”

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Failure in Achievnig the American Dream. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from