The Theme Of Success, Passion, And The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman

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Success, Passion, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman As protagonist Willy Loman tumbles down the stairs of despair and defeat, Arthur Miller seizes the moment and masterfully crafts his 1949 Pulitzer Prize winning play: Death of a Salesman (Charters 1428). Miller creates an environment that reflects mid-twentieth century America and establishes characters that are frighteningly realistic. The Loman family as a whole is the central source of theme in the play. Their struggles as a family, and particularly Willy’s struggle regarding the “American Dream,” lead to a concise theme that discusses living with regret. This allows Arthur Miller to offer a pessimistic, yet authentic perspective on the modern American Dream. Miller presents …show more content…
However, to Willy, the American Dream has a very different meaning. It appears as though he is determined to believe that success is achieved only if an individual is attractive and well-liked. This is repeatedly stated when in reference to Willy’s eldest son Biff. “In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost” (1432). Here, Willy introduces his personal idea of success. In one of his flashbacks, Willy is impressed by Biff’s popularity at school. He says: “The girls pay for you? Boy, you must really be makin’ a hit” (1438). During a separate flashback scene, Willy asks Biff: “What do they say about you in school, now that they made you captain” (1440)? This again demonstrates Willy’s misguided interpretation of the American Dream and his idea that success is due to …show more content…
It seems as though he does so for the wellbeing of his sons. As Linda says to Willy: “Few men are idolized by their children the way you are” (1444). Despite his fruitless attempts of being a salesman, Willy continues on his path of unhappiness to prove to his sons that success is attainable via his interpretation of success: affluence and popularity. This constant belief that the American Dream is consisted only of wealth and charisma is what leads to Willy’s unhappiness. His misinterpretation of success in combination with his depressed state obviously impacts his quality of life, and leads to his eventual

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