In the drama Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller focuses on dreams versus reality as his main theme of the play. The major characters Willy, Happy, and, in part Biff, all have problems facing life and its hardships. The lead character Willy has a difficult time confronting realism in his life because of a strong desire for his dreams to be accomplished. Willy's dreams are to be well liked, to be a successful businessman, and for his sons to be accomplished in the business world. These hopes for a brighter future create entrapment for Willy who feels lost in his thoughts and wonders if success will eventually come his way. Willy ignores reality and because of this he is caught in a disillusioned dream world with feelings of guilt and denial that manifest from his inability to see the truth. Willy's inability to escape from a fantasy existence and accept his average existence lead to his death. Willy's son Happy is living his life out the same as his father, but he will not end in suicide. Willy's other son Biff starts out to be like him, but changes his ways in order to avoid being like Willy. By having unrealistic dreams and by disregarding the truth it is almost impossible for anyone to achieve their goals. .
Miller portrays dreams as important, but if there is a lack of knowledge about oneself or what is real, then having "the wrong dreams" can kill when taken to extremes (Requiem, Line 15). Willy Loman's main goal in life is for he and his sons to be lucrative businessmen, but this dream is difficult to achieve when Willy does not live life realistically. Willy believes the only way to get ahead is to be a "man who makes an appearance a man who creates personal interest" (Act 1, Line 271). In other words, Willy feels that a man who has the right look and is well-liked will do well in the business world. In part Willy is correct, some people can get ahead just by looks and the kind of people they are, but not always.