Death of a Salesman Compared to the Great Gatsby Essay

613 Words Jun 22nd, 2007 3 Pages
Comparing Death of a Salesman to The Great Gatsby
In the search for the American dream many things can be lost, this is reflected in the novel The Great Gatsby and the movie Death of a Salesman. Both of these works demonstrate the lengths that some people will go to in order to achieve the stereotypical life of a rich, successful and powerful American, which is often referred to as the American dream. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller illustrates how the character Willy will stop at nothing to achieve the American dream, despite the tremendous costs. Willy is unable to achieve his goal, however, due to his stubbornness. The aspects of the novel The Great Gatsby about the pursuit of the American dream parallel Death of a Salesman, Jay
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"That huge place over there? Do you like it? I love it. (page 95) The symbol of the green light symbolizes that he is working hard and striving for his goal and obtaining it: "He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way… and distinguished nothing except a single green light." (page 26)
In both modern tragedies Fitzgerald and Miller view the American Dream as a failure. Jay Gatsby was a dreamer and was taken advantage of in life and quickly forgotten in death. Gatsby sees a comparision between the "pulpless halves of the lemons and orange, and his party guests: "You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit!" His sales company can parallel this to Willy feeling taken advantage of. Willy feels betrayed by his company when his boss Howard who is ironically named by Willy shortly after he began working for Howard's father fires him. "That snot nose. Imagine that. Imagine that I named him. I named him Howard." Both Jay and Willy were greatly impacted psychologically by the betrayals in these tragedies.
One should keep in mind the American dream in life however, should not try to live their lives based solely on the dream. Each person's thought of the American dream will vary and should never be based on materialistic things or money but on an obtainable