Arthur Miller's The Death of a Salesman depicts a man who has finally come crashing through into reality and cannot handle what he sees. Living in his own world, Willy Loman, struggles day by day hoping to one day achieve his dreams. The play depicts many everyday problems but mostly money issues. On a day-to-day basis Willy Loman struggles with his inner demons to keep going. The Death of a Salesman is a play based on realism and the pursuit of the American dream that Arthur Miller took from people in his life.
Willy is a 63-year-old man trying to make it in the world as a salesman. Willy and Linda try to build their own version of the American dream with their family. Willy and Linda's lives are full of monthly payments on possessions that symbolize that dream: a car, a home, and household appliances. The large number of monthly payments allowed families with modest incomes to hedge their optimistic bets against certain future success. The husband would surely advance to higher and better-paid positions over time, so why not buy these symbols today?.
Willy is obsessed with being "well liked." In part, his obsession is due to his fusion of his professional role with his identity. The expert salesman is a favorite of the buyers. He performs his role so well that he blurs the lines of friendship and business relationships. In doing so, the expert salesman all the more effectively seduces the buyer into purchasing his products. However, Willy has bought his own sales pitch, so he regards his professional contacts as "friends." Their indifference to his sales pitch hits him even harder since their rejection constitutes a personal attack. He regards being "well liked" as a measure of his success because he has bought his own sales pitch. Not being liked constitutes both a personal and professional failure.
Parents in the nineteenth century have continuously been pressured to encourage their children to succeed in life.