The American Dream in The Death of a Saleman by Arthur Miller

Decent Essays

One of the striking themes in Arthur Miller’s “The Death of a Salesman” is the concept of the American Dream. After World War II, as the United States produced more consumer goods, numerous people interpreted the American Dream as the concepts of richness and popularity. Although Miller wrote “The Death of a Salesman” after World War II, he describes Willy Loman as a salesman, who illustrates that wealth and popularity are not the important concepts that the American Dream represents. The four concepts of the American Dream that Willy fails to point out are freedom of choice, family love, hard work, and happiness. For example, when Willy cannot fulfill the American Dream in the business world, he places the pressure on Biff to fulfill it for him. At the beginning of Act I, Willy points out, “The trouble is he’s [Biff] lazy, goddammit” (1265)! Willy’s use of the word “lazy” symbolizes his inability of persuading Biff to pursue a career in the business field. Even though Willy believes that the business field would make Biff feel “well-liked”, he fails to interpret Biff’s American Dream. Examining Biff’s American Dream, we are reminded that “with a ranch I could do the work I like and still be something” (1271). Biff’s plan to work on the ranch depicts the freedom of choice. He represents the opposite side of Willy, who chooses a career based on his passions and not based on others’ opinions. Besides the freedom of choice, Willy also fails to recognize family love through

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