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Dreams in 'Death of a Salesman'.

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Introduction

Dreams in 'Death of a Salesman'. In this essay I'm going to consider Arthur Miller's perception of dreams, particularly the American Dream. Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" is a detailed review on the capitalist American society of the 1940s and also on human psychology and how much materialistic success means to us. He uses the misfortunes of a salesman named Willy Loman to illustrate this. Miller introduces the Loman family in a depressing mood (dim lighting is used and shows a house that has "towering, angular shapes" surrounding it and with little furniture). This immediately gives the audience a glum feeling about the play. The Loman family is a very stereotypical American family, with the father, Willy, working all day, a loving mother, Linda, and two children, Biff and Happy. As the play develops however, we learn more and more about the real tragedy of the family. Willy believes in the American dream. It was very influential in the American society of the 1940s and still is to some people, today. But only a few people have benefited from it. The American dream is based on the idea that as long as someone works hard, they will achieve great success no matter what their sex, age, nationality is. As the audience learn about the Loman family's poor financial situation, it becomes clear that Willy is a victim of the American dream. ...read more.

Middle

He is very like his father in his need for success, when he looks where there is no success he has to make it up. Both of them believe they have to lie to people to make themselves likeable. When Willy dies, instead of understanding how futile his dream is, Happy vows to fight on for Willy continuing his battle. Biff, however is less stubborn and prefers simple pleasures. He doesn't want to be told how to live his life and doesn't want to follow certain rules. He wants to be able to "whistle in the elevator". He loves "The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke". He doesn't want to beg and crawl and make money he would only spend to beg and crawl less. However Willy doesn't understand this and believes that Biff is simply, "A lazy bum". He is sure that Biff could succeed in the city if he only tried. Both Willy and Happy feel they have to cover up Biff's lack of success; Willy boasts to Bernard that Biff has being doing, "very big things in the West" and Happy in much the same way tells Stanley how Biff is a "big cattle man". They wholly subscribe to the American Dream A major part of the play is the time that Willy spends living in the past - daydreaming and reminiscing. ...read more.

Conclusion

member of the Loman family that has no dreams, all she wants is for Willy to be safe and well and the boys to respect him. Happy's farfetched idea of setting up business on their own carries even Biff away. Linda merely encourages. She is contented to live with Willy even if they have no garden or the car breaks down or the fridge fails. Arthur Miller seems to see her, not Ben, as the real hero of the play. This is reflected in the gentle respect he gives to her in his writing. This play is a strong message against the principle of the "American Dream". Willy Loman is constantly striving to achieve the dream, but drives himself crazy. Biff seems to be the only character in the Loman family that is able to set himself aside from this dream, wanting only to be happy - his own man. Although I believe dreams to be an important, if not essential part of life, I also believe that contentment is far more important. If you cannot be happy with what you have, you cannot possibly hope to be happy with what you wish for. Willy Loman dreams of becoming a great man, dreams of the great man he was and dreams of the great man Biff can be, he just fails to realise that they are great men. Patrick McCafferty 11S 19/3/2003 - 1 - ...read more.

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