The Destruction of Willy Lowman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman

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In Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman readers are introduced to Willy, an ambitious salesman who just can't seem to get a break despite his drive. Willy's life is marked by failure, and an almost stubborn attachment to the idea of striking it big. Willy's life is ended by his own hands, the result of a broken dream that lead to a broken spirit. In many senses Willy represents the idea of the "everyman", the average working class man trying to get ahead, this is reflected in his attachment to the achievement of more wealth, and his idealized vision of how to get there the "American dream." However, Willy can be seen to represent more that just the average man, and it can be argued that Willy's hamartia is the hamartia of capitalism …show more content…
Willy's plan for achieving this dream is also similar to many people's idea of how to get rich, and his role of a salesman reflects this similarity. The idea of a salesman is a very working class, job where the money you make is based on what you sell, your performance, hard work equals more pay. Many people embrace this idea and it is central to the creation of the American dream, the idea that you must climb your way to the top.

However, not only does Willy represent "everyman", through his faults we can begin to see a bigger problem-the problem of capitalism. This is because the same rationale that creates his drive and superficiality also creates his weaknesses which are his superficiality, jealousy, his lost of integrity and his role as a manipulator. Willy's superficiality is represented by his adherence to the importance of looks and physical appearance and his emphasis on being like rather than being a good person :"the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates a personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want." (Act 1, Part 3, pg. 2). This is also seen in his relationship to his two sons, while he praise his son attractive son Biff, who as a high-schooler was popular and well liked, he pays less attention to youngest Happy, who turns out to be more successful. This superficiality also seen in his relationship to his neighbor,
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