Arthur Miller defies the American dream mythology in “The demise of a salesman.” He invented the salesman character for the audience to connect with him without a recognized product. Before ‘The Depression’, Willy Loman had an optimistic attitude toward riches and success and suffered from his dissatisfaction with the dream because it fails him and his son. Willy and his wife, Linda, attempt to create their versions of the American dream with their entire family (Miller et al.,154). Willy believes that the primary key to success has a delightful personality rather than being hardworking and innovative. Due to this, he makes sure that his sons are popular and well-liked.
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Miller’s analysis of the American dream in a way surfaces desirability as portrayed by Linda. Linda represents the significance of individual value and honesty over financial profits, making her the only person capable of instilling change. Willy’s goals are materialistic in terms of luxury, money, and popularity, which leads him to neglect the process of being successful and only focus on the end product (Miller et al.,153). After realizing that he will never be like the successful people he idolized, he thinks of himself as a loser and sees that he will fail to make sales.
Like her spouse, Linda equates happiness and freedom to material wealth. She believes that success is achievable by everyone in the American dream (Miller et al., 155). She is on a mission to protect her husband’s plans and sentiments and is optimistic since she declines to perceive Willy’s lies. She, therefore, understands the reality of the time they live in and goes ahead to believe and hope that her husband will be successful by giving moral support to the family.
At the end of Act II, Willy says, “Isn’t that amazing? Biff-he likes me!” Because of Biff’s frustrated fears when he said that he had faith in Willy’s dreams although he failed to progress in the commercial world. He said those words because he realized that he had overlooked a chance to take protection in the affection of his household again. Willy later says that (Miller et al., 155) Biff loves him, which gives him the confidence to go ahead and execute his suicide plans to acquire insurance funds.
Ben’s language represents the success of the American dream and encouraging words. As stated by Willy, the former was an adventurer and explorer who came across diamonds in Africa, and he denoted everything Willy wanted his sons to become. Charley goes ahead and defends Willy’s actions since Willy was always jealous and felt threatened by Charley. Since Charley was their only true friend of Willy, he identified that his friend needed appreciation and acknowledgment all the time (Miller et al., 156). Charley’s words in the requiem are respectful, and he removes all blame from the eulogy by explaining the exhausting expectations and ridiculous demands of his profession.
Miller, Arthur, et al. Death of a Salesman. Kultur, (2004): 150-156