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Death of American Dream in Death of a Salesman


The play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller depicts life and destiny of an American family which dreams about prosperity and high social position in society. in this play, Fundamental in this play is the fact that Miller does not mask the analysis of social values and low morals. The play vividly portrays that the past is no longer forced into open conversation by a dramatic conflict; the main character of Willy Loman is no longer portrayed as master of the past to satisfy a formal code when in fact he is its helpless victim. Thesis Using a dramatic point of view, Miller creates a theme loosing hopes and tragedy as a result of false ideals and inability to achieve the American dream.

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The dramatic point of view helps Miller to speak about the tragedy of Loman and depict him as the American dreamer and loser who fails to find its place in this life. The main hero of the play is Willy Loman, an elderly failing salesman whose salary has been taken away. Devastated and without money, Willy Loman is returning home from his unlucky trip. He is rather tired of this life. Upon returning home he saw his grown sons, Biff and Hap have returned home to visit their father. Biff has lost his way in life and decided to return home. The other son is living in his own apartment. The play enables the author to distinguish between reality and illusion, particularly in term of Willy. This is a major theme of the play. Along with that this, the above mentioned topic serves to be a source of conflict. The conflict can be seen through the analysis of Willy’s comments. The main protagonist believes that his sons are successful. However this belief has nothing to do with the reality. In other words, Willy is mistaken. The play shows that both of the sons and Willy himself are not successful. They even can’t be successful. Certain lines in the novel are used to point to flaws of the main the character. According to Willy, a man can be “worth more dead than alive.” (Miller 22) Charlie, who faces the voice of reality tells Willy, “A man isn’t worth anything dead.” (Miller 13). The above mentioned thing can be explained by person’s inability to see reality.

Skillfully using a point of view, Miller reflects ideas and feelings of the family members and allows readers to understand opinion differences and worldviews of Linda, Biff and Happy. The play depicts that the past achieves representation in the same way that it appears in life itself. Thus, for all characters the past remains a painful experience and can create no deceptive bridges between the family members and Willy whom the analysis brings together— the family members whom it had left in lifelong separation. Therefore, instead of an interpersonal action that would call forth representation of the past, the present conversation generated by the family members overpowered by memory. Once Linda mentions:

Linda: Remember I wrote you that he smashed up the car again? In February?

Biff: Well?

Linda: The insurance inspector came (Miller 32)

This remake proves total indifference between sons and a father, and their inability to understand and perceive pain and sufferings of Linda.

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The family has recently begun to notice that Willy has problems. In fact, he is actually talking to them, not in the real present but in the past Willy remembers, which no longer leaves him alone. The present of the play is constituted by the forty-eight hours that follow unexpected return from a business travel. The conversation is more emotional and moving as it reflects real life feelings of the three characters. These scenes in turn create a means (flashbacks) of introducing the past into the space beyond conversation. The play scene shifts constantly towards negative representation of Biff and Happy. The personal crusade is no longer free characters; they emerge as references to the central role of the past, in the same manner as do the character reflections in dramaturgy. One can readily grasp the dramatic nature of this scene in the play of memory, which presents the imagined ideals ad values in order to impress the audience.


The conclusion draws from all this, Willy’s lack of control over his world and dreams, his lack of moral strength, his victimization, his faith in what is for him a misguided definition of wealth and the American dream, his ensuing lying and self-delusion is that Willy is pathetic. The skeptical point of view dramatizes the conflict and differences between Linda, the bots and wily and criticizes principles of the Loman family and the setting that, in boxing them in, seems to assist their crusade. The scene under analysis shows Linda asserting too late. The play depicts life and destiny of ordinary family involved in social and economic problems. The family dreams about prosperity and high social position in society but fails to achieve this dream.

Works Cited

Miller, A. Death of a Salesman: 50th Anniversary Edition, Penguin Books; 50th Annni edition, 1999.

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