Success and Failure in Death of a Salesman.
Throughout history society's interpretations of success and failure remain fundamentally sound. Over the years monetary, occupational, and family standings continue to be some key items which measure the success and or failure of an individual. Many people believe that a well-paying occupation and the possession of material goods such as cars and houses represent the epitome of success. On the other hand, society considers the lack of money and material goods in ones lifetime typical of a loser. In order to be triumphant both in Arthur Miller's lifetime as well as in present day society, one must conquer mankind's high expectations. Fulfilling these demands is attainable for only a small percentage of the human race. However, meeting these challenges for the majority of mankind whether through indifference, neglect, inferiority, or laxity leads to what society labels, unsuccessful. Today the general public is far more generous in their acceptance of people who strive and attain successful standings in the workplace and community, than those who lack determination and drive. .
Arthur Miller's ideas on success and failure similarly concur with the viewpoints of present day society. Many of Miller's life experiences are relative to the situations he presents in the drama, Death of a Salesman. For instance, the characters in the play reside in the city, just as Miller did in his early childhood years. Furthermore, he grew-up in a "nuclear family", which explains why the plot in Death of a Salesman revolves around the same type of family (DA 15). In addition, Arthur Miller's father lost his job during the Great Depression just like Willy Loman does in the play. Likewise, during the twenties when Miller was in his early teens he witnessed "how his father's fate [of losing his job] was shared on every side of those who had had blind faith in the so-called American Dream" (16).