Themes in Death of a Salesman

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The American Dream is a relevant and universal theme in the play. As Willy Loman there are many people who misinterpret the idea of the American Dream. For him, to accomplish success and wealth a person needs to be “well liked” (p.20). Willy’s obsession with popularity leads him to tell his son Biff “you are going to be five times ahead of him. / Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (p.

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21). Since, Willy was never successful as a salesman, he stills thinking in a positive way that his son will be able to be successful in the business world because he is attractive and he used to be a great football star in high school.

While reading “Death of a Salesman”, Happy’s character made me remember my cousin. They are both similar in the way they live their lives, always trying to call their father’s attention by following the way their fathers think success is accomplished. For example, Happy says in the play “it’s what I always wanted. My own apartment, a car, and plenty of women. And still, goddammit, I’m lonely” (p.12). This reflects my cousin’s life because they are both living a miserable life. By the way my cousin is Hispanic, so this example clearly shows that the play’s themes and characters are universal by being related to characters of other cultures.

In conclusion, Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” has many themes and characters that transcend racial and cultural boundaries. Despite Larh’s attempts to demonstrate that the play is not universal there are many aspects that proves he is wrong. The themes such as the relationships between father and son and the conflicts that arise from them, betrayal, and the American Dream are relevant to most cultures. So, the play is universal because it can be performed by characters of different cultures and find relevance with future generations.

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Themes in Death of a Salesman. (2021, Jan 25). Retrieved from