Willy Loman and the American Dream Essay
The American dream is a concept that has been around for generations, altering the ideas of adults to chase after a near impossible reality. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman the reader follows Willy Loman’s past and present run Ins with his obsession to achieve the American Dream. Willy is a power hungry, narcissistic man who will stop at nothing to consume enough wealth and popularity to be comfortable in society. Although, he is blind to see how his actions to achieve perfection have ruined others goals and dreams around him. As the play progresses the story switches between Willy’s middle class life as a once successful businessmen, to Willy’s aged life after the war fighting capitalist turmoil and coping with a struggling family. Death of a salesman uses symbolism to enhance Willy’s character throughout the play, and how his obsession with the American dream lead to his fatal accident making his life and others around him an example of the American nightmare.
Willy Loman’s obsession starts affecting his family members during the flashbacks of the play. The look of the Loman family in the flashbacks of the play show a very comfortable family living in brooklyn around the 1940’s. Willy at this time is working as a traveling salesman in manhattan, who is very popular in selling properties. His oldest son Biff is a football superstar at his high school and is in line to get a scholarship into college despite the fact that he is not very educated like his neighbor Bernard. Despite his flaws Willy believes, “It’s who you know and the smile on your face!. . . that’s the wonder, the wonder of this country, that a man can end with diamonds here on the basis of being liked!’ (Arthur). Despite Willy putting off the importance of education and believing his sons good looks and charisma will carry him in life, “The overwhelming message is that this a lie, and that Willy is a fool to believe it. It is one of the things that destroys him. (jhsgdf). This is message is true and one of the first encounters where the reader sees willy beliefs affect the outcome of not only him but Biff. Because the focus of Biff’s high school career was sports, he had gotten himself into trouble and risked losing his scholarship because He had failed a math course. When seeking out help biff travels to his father who was on business in Boston. The discovery of Willy in his room with a client’s secretary, results in Biff losing his drive to finish school and the loss of his enrollment in the university of virginia. Willy’s exposure of unfaithfulness in his marriage ended Biff’s future where he now can’t hold down a job, and he even went to jail. Although he could have held different motifs like bernard. Bernard valued education and ended up later being a successful lawyer.
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