Comparing The American Dream In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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The American Dream is a belief by people that if they work hard enough and long enough in this country, they will find success in whatever they do. The American Dream is constantly shown and depicted in movies and books by having characters trying to achieve this fulfilling life. This success for most people is shown through a good paying job, a big house, and a happy and very loving family. Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman is a character who tries his whole life to reach his American Dream. The dream Willy envisions is never fulfilled while he is alive even with Biff's life starting so promising with popularity in high school and football talents good enough for the best colleges in the country. However, Willy’s dream is shown through the …show more content…
He travels the world at seventeen in order to find their father, but finds riches and success instead in Africa. He tells Willy and his sons, “When I was seventeen I walked into the jungle and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by god I was rich”(33). Ben has achieved the American Dream in a sense of being successful and wealthy. He achieves his opulence through hard work and luck when he comes into the occupation of diamond mining in Africa. Another character in the book who realizes the American Dream and is a representation of what Willy wants in life is the salesman, Dave Singleman. Willy speaks so highly of him because of the legacy he leaves. He leaves such a legacy that "when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on lotta trains for months after that"(61). Dave achieved his American Dream of being remembered by being a well-liked by those in his life and having a positive effect on them. As hard as Willy tries he is shown to be not as memorable as almost no one other family shows up to his …show more content…
Throughout his life, Happy always played second fiddle to Biff in Willy's mind, but ends up being the one with the good paying job rather than his brother. However Happy is the brother that appears to be depressed and sad with the way his life is going:"My own apartment, a car, and plenty of women. And still, goddammit, I'm lonely"(12). Happy spends too much time worrying about what other people think of him and about his legacy just like his father. Willy and Happy have pretty similar backgrounds as they both started out very successful and realize they need to change something about their lives to reach their American Dream. It is apparent that Willy is only focused on legacy even when he is talking about Willy:"I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream"(111). It seems as though Happy will live a life similar Willy as they are both obsessed about legacy and being which means that Happy will not achieve his American Dream. The American Dream today is very similar to what it was during the time Death of a Salesman was set. People are still mostly worried about how the people around them perceive them or how happy and successful they are. Happy really represents the people who live their life with the goal of becoming famous for the sole purpose of attention and money.

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