Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream Essay

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Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream


In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman and Edward Albee’s The American Dream, Willy Lowman and Mommy possess the trait of superficiality. Their priorities are to look good and be liked, and this contributes to their misguided paths to reach success. This attribute is one of many societal criticisms pointed out by both authors. Arthur Miller criticizes society for perceiving success as being liked and having good looks. He illustrates society’s perception through Willy, who thinks the keys to success are being popular and attractive. Willy transmits this philosophy to his sons by ignoring their education and personal growth and setting an example that popularity is most
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Willy continues to teach his sons his misguided values by telling them education is almost useless and a good body is a fine substitute.


"Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand , but when he
gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five
times ahead of him. That’s why I thank the Almighty God you’re both
built like Adonises. Because the man that makes the appearance in the
business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who
gets ahead. Be liked and you’ll never want." (pg. 33)


Willy is now misleading his sons into thinking good looks will keep them alive in the corporate world and education won’t, yet Willy is a man with respectable looks and he isn’t surviving in the same world. Fifteen years later, Willy continues to preach the same theory, even after he has seen both his sons fail in the world, having been guided by his words. Prior to Biff’s proposal to Bill Oliver for ten thousand dollars , Willy is still stuffing his sons’ heads with the same misleading advise.


"It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it-because personality always
wins the day." (pg. 65)


Willy’s final words of advise to Biff are no different than his first and no more educational. Biff, like Willy, does not learn from his mistakes and steals a fountain pen from Bill Oliver, leaving him unable to face Oliver again to ask for money. Willy’s advice on the…