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The nature of success in Death of a Salesman

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Introduction

How does Miler explore the nature of success in the society of Death of a Salesman? In Death of a Salesman, Miller shows that the nature of success includes the ability to make lots of money and the ability to gain material possessions. "Wire recorder...you can't do without it...they're only a hundred and a half." In this quote, Howard is boasting about his new wire recorder to Willy and this indicates to the audience that in order to be successful as an individual, in post war American society, one has to be able to buy the latest consumer goods that are advertised to them. In this scene, Howard is extremely pleased with his wire recorder and this suggests that Howard is successful as he is able to afford an object, which equals, in cost, to Willy's debts. As the play describes the economic boom that followed the Second World War in the late 1940s, where there was an increasing desire in the public for material goods, the nature of success is related to one's ability to possess these material goods that were becoming available to more people. ...read more.

Middle

The only advice Ben is seen to give to Willy and his family includes the above quote and this depicts the society in Death of a Salesman to be cruel and pitiless. It suggests that if anyone wants to be successful in this ruthless world, they have to be brutal in their approach to others. This connects with Miller's exploration of the nature of success to be dehumanizing, since the society forces individuals to compete with one another in order to strive for success. This seems false because a society cannot be successful, as a whole, if everyone is aggressive to one another since this will leave weaker individuals, like Willy Loman, unable to become successful. Here Miller explores the nature of success by showing that if everyone 'Never fights fair with a stranger' then there will certainly be individuals who cannot become successful due to the competitive society they live in. On the other hand, Miller explores the true nature of success through the character of Charley. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, Willy has a loving family, a happy marriage, he owns material possessions and he has natural craftsmanship skills, which others like Charley lack. So, in the eyes of some individuals Willy is successful and he has much to be happy about. Additionally, Miller uses Charley to illustrate the rewarding nature of success as Charley is secure in life with a son, Bernard, who is also a very honest and successful man. Overall, through Miller's exploration of the nature of success, we are shown that success has no real definition and that an individual can create their own success through the opportunities they face in life. In the society of Death of a Salesman, the nature of success is very harsh, materialistic and it does not allow everyone to fulfil their potential in life. Miller explores this idea through showing that in post war American society, only those in big companies and in big positions could become successful, and less important individuals in society, like the Loman family, are prevented from becoming successful. Therefore, Miller shows that the nature of success in the society of Death of a Salesman is demeaning and unrealistic as success should be available to all. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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