Posted: November 27th, 2013
Describe how Death of a Salesman is an “An structure” of the American dream
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is one of the American’s tragedies of the 20th Century. The story is about Willy Loman, a sixty three year old sales representative who assumed the burden of gratifying the American dream for his family. In reality, Willy’s American dream is a myth. He believes that his dream can only be achieved through material wealth but instead he becomes isolated with his family and even fails to become successful. An examination of the American dream is depicted as a fleeting source of happiness. The American dream is just like a movie set that many people dream of, but which is not real. Throughout the play, Willy is portrayed as a man full of distress, and the quest for fortune hurts him until he meets his death. Thus, the play is an structure of the American dream because it demonstrates the destruction of a man who puts the quest for material wealth forefront, but who ends up losing everything.
The death of a salesperson is an ‘structure’ of the American dream, which is described in varied ways. First, the American dream is based upon wealth and continual acquisition of money, which Miller views as doomed to failure. Miller describes the failure of Willy in business, just as Willy’s father failed. Miller therefore reveals that money and the construct of success in the American dream is incapable of providing happiness to an individual. In this case Willy is used as a representation of someone trying to follow the expectation laid down in the American dream but fails in his endeavors. Therefore, the play operates as a dissection into the structure of the American dream. Murphy (45) points out that the structure that lies beneath the surface of the American dream is unfeasible success and foreseeable failure. From this point of view, the only chance for individuals to get happiness is through actively redefining the matrices of their lives but not defining the material wealth.
Secondly, Willy’s death is an structure of the American dream since it is what many people are trying to achieve. The play is an structure because it tries to demonstrate the destruction of one man trying to put the dream forefront and ends up losing everything. Willy believes that through hard working, he will be rewarded. For instance, his brother Ben is an ideal example of what many people are dreaming to be in the American society. Ben owned a diamond mine and a large section of forest. Willy believed that through working hard, he would be rewarded the same but he failed to achieve his dream. In reality, the American dream is a myth because material wealth cannot be achieved through these means. Thus, he ends up losing sight of what makes a man to be successful (Lerner and Adrienne 45).
Lastly, the American dream is like a false veneer on a movie set, beneath the surface nothing exists. Willy wants to be successful like his brother but Ben was materially successful, which is not the ideal definition of success. The guarantee of wealth and happiness is a false impression. This is what drives Willy down, making him suffer just because of trying to achieve the dream, which is in the real sense hard to achieve. Miller points out that there is no American dream for the average person but only disappointment, unmeet expectations and missed chances (Murphy 67). Willy isolates himself from his family because of trying to achieve the American dream. The disappointments and failures that he encounters are the true elements of the American dream for most Americans.
The play is an structure because it tries to demonstrate the destruction of one man trying to place the dream forefront and ends up losing everything. It is an structure because the American dream is predicted upon wealth and continual acquisition of money, which Miller views as doomed to failure. Willy’s death is an structure of the American dream since it is what many people are trying to achieve. In addition, the American dream is like a veneer because beneath the surface, nothing exists. Instead, people end up becoming frustrated because of losing everything in the process of seeking to attain wealth and happiness.
Murphy, Brenda. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press, 2010.
Lerner, Alicia C, and Adrienne W. Lerner. Suicide in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.
Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Print.
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