Essay What Death of a Salesman Conveys About the American Dream

749 Words Dec 21st, 2013 3 Pages
The American dream has stood to be each person’s idea of success. The American dream is usually associated with 1940’s America depiction of the ideal family, as can be depicted from television shows such as Leave it to Beaver. However, this is one aspect and shallow analysis of the American dream that is not appropriate for all reaching to achieve their American dream. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Miller succeeds in portraying this through the characters Willy and Biff. Their conflict represents two varying perspectives of the American dream, and this very struggle leads to the conclusion that the American dream is rooted in the pursuit of a better life.

Throughout Death of a Salesman, Miller portrays two ideas of the
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Biff’s American dream is to free himself from the barriers of expectations, specifically those of his father. To free himself from his father’s desired dream for him and move towards his own chosen life which is to live and own a ranch is the country. However, Biff only came to realize his dream later in his adult life as opposed to only pleasing his father as he did as a child. It was only after the calamity of discover his father’s affair did Biff drift away from Willy’s expectations. It is as he becomes resolute to follow his own dreams rather than his father’s expectations he says, “Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens.” (Act 2) This statement come from his final conversation with his father as Biff shows his last attempt to show Willy the he is not the person he thought Biff would be. Nevertheless, it was fear of Biff defecting from becoming the ideal person Willy dreamed Biff would be that lead Willy to his downfall. As well as the crumbling of Willy’s American dream for Biff. The final message of Death of a Salesman is that a person’s American dream is whatever one perceives it means be successful. Fear of displacement from that dream can be self-destructive. This can be seen as Willy becomes unstable due to Biff not becoming successful defined by Willy’s expectations for him, and such fear can destroy one’s American dream. Had it

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