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How does Arthur Miller present the flaws and limitations of the American Dream in 'Death of a Salesman' and through the character of Willy Loman?

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Bushra Wasty 11E How does Arthur Miller present the flaws and limitations of the American Dream in 'Death of a Salesman' and through the character of Willy Loman? The American Dream is an object of desire for many Americans as it is what they strive for their whole life. The American Dream is based mainly on wealth and materialism. The sense of freedom is what people are striving for. Freedom from bills and debt is what Willy Loman is striving for in 'Death of a Salesman'. The American Dream is seen as a perfect life, which consists of a house with a white picket fence and perfect family: husband, wife, two children and a dog all living happily and comfortably without any financial troubles. But very few Americans achieve that goal in their lifetime, because there's also competition if everyone's aiming for it. Every person is competing with their friends and neighbours. These flaws show through in 'Death of a Salesman' as Willy tries to get to grips with his life and trying to pay off his house. 'Death of a Salesman' has been used by Arthur Miller to show what the American Dream is really like. ...read more.


Willy has constantly been competing with his neighbour, Charley. However, Charley is running his own business, whereas Willy is still in the same job that he's been in for years. Selling. The character of Willy Loman is perfect for presenting the flaws of the American Dream, because he's just an average man; an average 'Joe Bloggs' and basically a nobody, because he hasn't achieved the things that he wanted to achieve. He continues dreaming of making it big and he keeps on chasing this dream, because there's a feeling of hope in him, everytime his sons go for a job interview or have an appointment with their boss. He refuses to listen to what his sons have to say, because it's not what he wants to hear. So, instead he just fills their mouth with words or keeps on interrupting them. Willy holds a lot of false hope of something that he won't be able to achieve and this is reflected within the play and its setting. The play is set in Willy's house and this is one of the main reasons as to why there is a lack of contentment in the play, because he hasn't been able to pay off his mortgage for the house. ...read more.


And he didn't even mention it!' This shows that Bernard isn't the type to boast about how well he's doing even though he climbing the ladder towards the American Dream. He's overtaken Biff and Willy regrets that, but isn't quite sure who to blame. Himself or Biff? Willy is blinded by false hope and great aspirations of striking it rich, but he's doing all this for his children, so that they don't have to struggle the way he did. But Bernard and Charley show that people have to do things themselves to achieve what they want to achieve, because Bernard is a top lawyer and he did this without anyone's help. He doesn't need Charley to provide for him, nor is he working for him either. The only things that Willy has ever been able to achieve in his life are solid material goods, such as his house, fridge, car and vacuum cleaner. But he doesn't think that it's enough, so he decides to go and crash the car and kill himself, just because he wants his children to lead a comfortable life. His death brings in money for his children, but it shows what lengths Willy went to just so that his children could lead the perfect life of an American Dream. ...read more.

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