Death of a Salesman Analysis Essay

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Many works of literature have the theme of a failed American Dream, which is the basic idea that no matter what social class an individual may be, they still have an equal ability to achieve prosperity and a good life for their family; however, there has been much debate over whether or not the American dream is still obtainable in modern society. One piece of American literature that substantiates the fact that the American Dream can not be gotten is Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman which describes the tragedy of the average person in America. A number of other writers also draw the inability to capture the American Dream. John Steinbeck demonstrates in his highly acclaimed novel The Grapes of Wrath how hard economic times can…show more content…
This idea is also clearly represented in modern times due to the fact that the nation is once more in a recession and every one wants the shiny new car or the huge lavish house. Miller senses this and uses Willy as an example of one of the many who fail to reach the American Dream and never will. Miller also challenges society to reflect upon how it interprets success, as Abbotson points out:
“Miller sees many people’s lives being poisoned by their desire to be successful. People like the Lomans are doomed to try for success but fail, with all the resulting guilt that such failure brings. Others like Ben and Howard display an ability to make money that deems them successful but at the cost of their own moral integrity.” (Abbotson, 317)

By providing the story with foils such as Ben and Howard being successful, Miller sheds a bit of hope on America then proceeds to thwart that same hope with the fact that they lose their moral integrity, which is a key component of the American Dream; therefore Miller clearly displays how society will continue to deny Americans the coveted dream they aspire to attain. Literary critic Thomas Porter states:
“Willy’s status in society, his family background are typical; even more of a type is Willy’s identity as a salesman. He is a product of a

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