Death of a Salesman: Failure of the American Dream.
In 1949 Arthur Miller wrote the play, Death of a Salesman. The play is a parody on the concept of the American Dream. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller forces the reader to deal with the failure of the "American Dream" and the effect it had on the Loman family, how it ruins the life of Willy, and destroys Biff's life as well. By focusing on serious problems that the reader can relate to, Arthur Miller connects us with the characters facing these life-altering crisis.
This essay will examine how Arthur Miller uses Characters, to further develop the Failure of the American Dream in his play Death of a Salesman, by examining the characters of Willy Loman and Biff.
To Willy Loman success is defined as being a well-liked businessman. As Willy grew up, his American Dream was to be able to "pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, make his living." (Miller, 81) This is Willie's dream, to be respected and so well known that at such an age he would still be able to provide for his family. Willy was never a good salesman, because his heart was never in it. The only time Willy put his heart into anything is when he worked with his hands, and Biff comes to realize this. "There's more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made." (Miller, 138) Willy never comes to the realization that it was not being a salesman that he cared about, but rather being well known. The American ideal of success as Willy sees it is being above a blue collared worker. This idea, however untrue, has been burned into his head and clouds his vision, to such an extent that he can not even see what he would be both successful and happy doing. When Biff suggest that he does not belong in the business world, but rather as a blue collared worker, Willy falls back on this American ideal of "Even your grandfather was better than a carpenter.