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Willy Loman`s American Dream

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Willy Loman`s American Dream Many perceive the American Dream as obtaining fame, fortune, and success. The play" Death of A Salesman," by Arthur Miller, tells the story of traveling salesman, Willy Loman, who encounters frustration and failure as he reflects on and experiences his own life. Willy's quest for the American Dream leads to his failure because throughout his life, he pursues the illusion of the American Dream and not the reality of it. His mindset was on perfection, success, and his constant reminiscence of the past and foretelling of the future, all contribute to his defeat in the end. The reality of the American Dream is that people are capable of succeeding. Success, though, requires one to work hard and be dedicated to both his/her professional life and family life. Yet, the illusion of the Dream is that attaining material prosperity defines success. Failing to acknowledge the importance of hard work in achieving the American Dream is another aspect of the illusion. By ignoring the present, Willy fails to deal with reality. He has a tendency of living in the past and thinking of the future. ...read more.


All his life, he holds on to this fantasy, but he never faces the reality of how he could have made it come true. It is his vision of the people of the past that lead Willy to follow a particular path, leading to his demise in the end. The success attained by Willy's role models, his father, Dave Singleman, and Ben, is what he envisions to be the American Dream. He only visualizes the end product, being successful, and not the process they may have gone through to achieve that success. Willy's father sold flutes and made that his living. In an encounter with his thoughts of the past, Willy listens to Ben, his brother, who refers to their father by saying, "Great Inventor, Father. With one gadget he made more in a week than a man like you could make in a lifetime" (49). Willy assumes that by being a salesman, like his father was, he is automatically guaranteed success, and that it wasn't something that he would have to work for. Material success, such as money, luxury, and wealth, and popularity are his goals and his definition of success. ...read more.


Due to the fact that he is a so-called perfectionist, accomplishment is never evident to Willy. Once he reaches any "goal", he never sees the good in it, instead he only sees what he could have done better. Perfection is just a figment of the imagination, an elusive illusion, just as the American Dream is in Willy's mind. Willy Loman portrays a "common man", who lives a life that is purely an illusion. Although Willy has good intentions, his tragic flaw is that he focuses only on the appearance of the American Dream and never on the reality, the work ethic, or how to achieve it. Willy brings about his own downfall, his defeat, because he tries to pursue this "superficial" idea. Miller includes this theme of the American Dream in his social criticism in an attempt to portray the deviation in the values of society. For instance, materialism and technological advances, causes the American Dream to change as times changes. The salesman is a position that has declining importance at the time. He shows that an individual's values are based on what society has established. Yet, as society changes, the values one have may not, causing conflict between the society and the individual. 1 Boston 1 ...read more.

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