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Discuss the importance of dreams in the play.

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Death of a Salesman Discuss the importance of dreams in the play. In Death of a Salesman, there are several types of dreams that are evident. These are the hopes and ambitions of the characters, daydreams fantasies and memories and national and cultural dreams, such as the American Dream. Dreams are a very important part of the play. They motivate the characters into their actions and explain their behaviour both in the past and the 'real time' that the play is set in. The dreams also affect the way that the whole play is structured. The play is set in the time after the American Dream had started to fade. This is important, because Americans no longer believed in it. Willy found it hard to accept that his sons didn't believe in what he had believed all his life. The American Dream affected all Americans when Willy Loman was younger, and even though Willy fell foul of the system, he was very much affected by it when he was a young man, and it is still with him. The American Dream was an ideal, which showed the longings of people who wanted to break new ground in a developing country, to earn and save their money and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and to work for themselves. The important factors of the American Dream, were having the best of everything, being successful and popular, having money to spend, and the ideal of rural living close to nature, as well as owning your own business. Consumerism was very much linked to this. Advertising was being used for the very first time, on billboards, radio and even television. ...read more.


She would like to be free from financial worry, and sees her life in the city, not anywhere else. Linda's role is to portray the typical American woman. She is faithful to her husband and stays at home to look after the family. She fits in with the American dream, which is shown in the play. The hopes and ambitions of the characters are not all very realistic. Linda is the realist in the family, and agrees with Willy to keep him happy. The characters all live their lives around their hopes and ambitions. They treat others as if they should have the same hopes and ambitions as them. Some of the dreams of the characters are very important to them, and this is because these dreams are the only way that they can escape their reality. They are unhappy, but these dreams make them happy. Biff significantly changes his dreams and ambitions over time. When he was young, he wanted to be like Willy and respected Willy a great deal. When Biff learns that he has flunked at school, he goes to see Willy, who is away on a business trip, and finds him with a young lady. This destroys Biff's image of Willy as his mentor and loving father. Biff never recovers from this, and afterwards, rebels against Willy and all that he has been in Biff's life. The other characters do not change their dreams as significantly. Happy realises that he is stuck in a dead end job, but he cannot escape, and does not wish to do so, because he is comfortable where he is. Linda still has her dreams although she no longer strives to achieve them, because she has realised that her sons now lead their own lives. ...read more.


He remembers this properly, because it was an awful thing to happen to him. He was shocked and distressed, which helped him to remember events correctly. Willy often remembers things as he would have liked them to happen. He wants to be the best, respected and successful. This is reflected in his dreams, because he remembers things as he wishes they had happened. Willy is still being delusional about his life, because he cannot accept the truth. Willy has trouble accepting that he wasn't successful and does not have the chance to ever be successful, because he is too old, and his career is over. Dreams are important in the play for many different reasons. The dreams in the play convey different ideas about the characters. We see the characters in 'real time' and can only truly understand them when we see past events. We see how the American Dream affects the characters, how their hopes and ambitions affect them and how past events affect them through flashbacks. Miller is trying to make a point that we live in a society that encourages us to have dreams that are well beyond our means, and are unachievable, rather than realistic dreams. All of the characters in the play have been affected by their dreams and the dreams of others. Without dreams, human life would be awful, because we all need something to aim for, but our aims need to be realistic. Arthur Miller has effectively shown how our dreams can get out of hand, and do the people around us, as well as ourselves, more damage than good. The American Dream affected one generation a lot, until it was seen by the next generation that it was merely an ideal. Arthur Miller's father immigrated to America, and soon found that the land of opportunity was not all it seemed. Ruth Sutton ...read more.

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