Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay

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Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman was written after the second World War while the American economy was booming. Society was becoming very materialistic, and the idea that anyone could “make it” in America was popular. These societal beliefs play a large part in Death of a Salesman, a play in which the main character, Willy Loman, spends a lifetime chasing after the American Dream. Willy was sold on the wrong dream. He was enamored with a myth of American ideals and chose to put aside his real talents in pursuit of a fantasy. In several instances of the play, we see that Willy is a skilled carpenter. He wants to redo the front step just to show off to his brother, and he is
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Willy can see only Singleman’s popularity among the buyers, something that Willy has strived for all of his life.

Here we find one of Willy’s main problems. He is so busy striving to achieve financial success and widespread popularity that he ignores the unconditional love that his family gives. He is more concerned with being “well-liked” among the people he gives sales pitches to. His wife, Linda, views his job solely as a source of income, she is more concerned with Willy the person than Willy the salesman. However, instead of being content with the love of his wife, Willy has an affair with a woman while he is on the road. The woman has obviously bought Willy’s sales pitch; she likes him, and she gives his ego a boost. But she doesn’t love him. To Willy this isn’t important; she likes the man that he imagines himself to be. Willy chooses this artificial relationship over a real one because it fits in with his misguided ideals.

Towards the end of the play, reality begins to set in for Willy. After he is fired, he realizes that he will never live out the American Dream for himself. His hopes are crushed for a while, especially when he finds out how horribly Biff’s meeting with Bill Oliver went, and he loses his mind. But, he then thinks of a way to pass his dream on to Biff. When he realizes that Biff wasn’t just trying to “spite” him for all of those years, he returns to his old dreams. With the money from the insurance policy, Biff can
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