Comparing The American Dream In Willy Loman And A Streetcar Named Desire

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Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ and Tennessee Williams’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ are both texts which explore human suffering on a profoundly intimate scope, the two texts contain multiple similarities and differences but ultimately offer noteworthy examinations of ‘The American Dream’ concept from multiple narratives and viewpoints. The main protagonists from the two texts, Willy Loman and Blanche DuBois share similar qualities, it can be argued that they are both naive idealists and romantics who refuse to accept the harsh realities that fate has dealt them by immersing themselves in their own fantasies. The fundamental principal of the ‘American Dream’ concept implies the equal opportunity for all individuals to achieve prosperity…show more content…
His usefulness in the businesses world has been made redundant by a blind faith based on shallow qualities such as being “well liked” and funny as he puts it. Miller uses Loman’s character to highlight the falsehood of the dream to the audience. New York Times writer Brooke Atkinson suggests that Willy does “not seem to be concerned with the quality of the product he is selling, his core values are based on things that are ephemeral at most.” What emphasises Lomans blind faith is his persevering idealism and naivety throughout the novel, he makes several references to plans for the future, frequently mentioning that “someday I’ll have my own business” and that he will “get a little place out in the country”. His idealism bears resemblance to Steinbeck's own ‘Lennie’ who remains ignorant of his reality and immerses himself in a fantasy in which the audience knows will not change. However, the difference between Lennie and Willy Loman is that Loman purposely chooses to remain in a fantasy, his blind faith in the American Dream is perhaps rooted with significant experiences in his past. One of the most significant examples of this is his conversations with his late brother Ben, Willy idolises him because of the success he enjoyed from an early age. This is stated in a quote when he says “When I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty one. And by God I was rich!” Loman repeats this phrase to himself multiple times throughout the course of the play, it can be interpreted as one of Willy’s sources for his persevering faith in the American dream. Willy views Ben as a success story and as tangible proof of his family’s
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