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Biff (of his father): He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Discuss Biff's assessment of Willy's 'dreams' in the context of the play as a whole

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Introduction

Miller: Death of a Salesman Biff (of his father): He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Discuss Biff's assessment of Willy's 'dreams' in the context of the play as a whole. Arthur Miller in "Death of a salesman" utilises the character of Biff to expose the falsity of Willy's Loman's beliefs and dreams, especially with regards to his belief in The American Dream. Biff's assessment of Willy's dreams is accurate; Willy's values and dreams are misplaced and deluded. Although Willy has a strong desire for success for himself and his family, which on first appearance sounds like a positive ambition, his dream is for material success, wealth and popularity. "The wrong dreams" Biff describes are Willy's confusion of material wealth, possessions and popularity as meaning success in life and relationships and his delusion with certain aspects of these ambitions. These "wrong dreams" all stem from the context of post-war American consumerism and the American Dream: that everyone has the opportunity in America to achieve wealth and prosperity. It is through Willy's character that Miller examines the American Dream and shows how blind unquestioning faith in such a dream can lead to tragic results. ...read more.

Middle

Through Miller's use of Dave Singleman dramatic irony is created as no-one comes to Willy's funeral. This reinforces the idea that Willy's dream of popularity was impossible to achieve. Willy is a broken man, worn down trying to achieve the dream because in the capitalist society is which the play is set men are disposed of once they are no longer of use. Willy's dreams are shown to be "All, all, wrong" for the society in which he lives through Howard Wagner, the epitome of a capitalist employer. Howard crushes Willy, showing no care and compassion, telling him "cause you gotta admit, business is business." Willy still refuses to accept this, saying that "you can't eat the orange and throw away the peel - a man is not a piece of fruit!" failing to face the harsh realities of life and let go of his dream for popularity and success. Willy is a "low man" in American society to be discarded once he is past use. Equally it indicates Miller's criticism of the American society of the time in the American belief that failure to achieve the American Dream must mean a failure of personality, which he witnessed (and noted in his autobiography) ...read more.

Conclusion

Willy Loman buys into the ideals and dreams of his culture. The American Dream informs all of Willy's hopes and actions and is the criterion against which he measures success. However, Willy's version of the Dream is conflicting; Willy wishes to be a pioneer as a renowned, popular salesman, but also to gain the respect of his family. He sets about doing this is the wrong way, as his obsession with success lying in material wealth and popularity and his refusal to abandon this dream lead to the damage of his family relationship and his own mental state. His dreams have become delusions as his reliance of the values of The American Dream and consumerism at the expense of truth and reality lead to his feelings of failure. Biff's assement of Willy's dreams, as "all, all, wrong" is accurate because of Willy's failure to face the realities of American society: the capitalist society that treats people as objects and how that for a "low man" it is difficult for wealth to be achieved. Willy's values and beliefs are misplaced and he fails to abandon them or realise that they can never be achieved. Accordingly, Biff's assessment is accurate and Willy's dreams are "all, all, wrong." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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