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The Importance of Dreams in "The Death of a Salesman".

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The Importance of Dreams in "The Death of a Salesman" The play essentially portrays The American dream, how it can work and also how sometimes it doesn't. The American dream represents how if a man is willing to work hard all his life, he will get some where. Willie, a husband and father of two, has worked hard all his life, but now, old and tired wonders where his promised fortunes are. He lies to his family about his pay, and dreams about his glorious past, in a glorified way. Willie is just an ordinary family man trying to survive in America, he is a typical man with nothing special about him, and he has never done anything special which any other man couldn't do. He thinks however if he works hard enough he will make something of himself, just as his brother Ben did. The story tries to illustrate the point that there are many men in Willies situation: "Pop, I'm a dime a dozen and so are you." This is autobiographical in a sense as Miller changed environments during the depression and found how hard his father had to work and didn't earn much. ...read more.


Dreams are used as a way of comparing the past and the future. Willie uses it to compare how great everything was and how bright the future was, the reader also sees this. Biff in the past is portrayed as a strong leader with an ambition, this is shown as him as the Football captain and trying to get into college. In the present he is shown in a completely different light, he is unemployed and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. Willy also uses his dreams to relive the things he did wrong, he feels guilty and blames himself for how Biff turned out. After Biff found out about the affair he loses his ambition and calls Willie a fake, Willie sees some truth in this and is hurt. He always exaggerates about how much people like him; we know this by how he confides in his wife about how he thinks people laugh at him. Hap and Biff both see Willies dream as sign of him going senile and want to help him, Linda on the other hand has accepted it and just wants to get on with life, she sees it as him ...read more.


All, all wrong." After Willy dies we see the two brothers, one following in his father's footsteps and taking the exact same route, maybe culminating in another death and Biff ready to work outside after seeing the tragedy of the American dream. Hap is starting to live the American dream but is already starting to see its flaws: "My own apartment, a car, and plenty of women, and still, goddamit, I'm lonely." Willie ultimate aim is to life the end of his life a success, he wants to die like Ben. He views Ben as his Idol, near the end of his life, he can see his dream being unreachable and suicide is close to his mind: "He died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers..." After many years of hard work Willie in the end understands how misguided his efforts really were, he realizes the only way for him to rectify the situation is by killing himself. "After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive." Before he does so he plants some seeds, even though he knows the land is infertile as a sign that maybe one day his sons may achieve where he failed, effort is worth nothing if it's not well placed. ...read more.

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