Throughout the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller we see first hand what the thought of the American dream can do to a hard working man such as Willy Loman. Craig L. Thomas once said that “You stuff someone into the American Dream, and it becomes a prison.” What he means is that sometimes when people work hard and stay determined they don’t always end up on the wealthy side, and Death of a Salesman displays just that. Willy worked hard all his life and was determined to provide for his family. After a few years of working hard however, he starts to run into some economic struggles.
As one experiences the unpredictability of personal and business relationships, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel content with oneself. In Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” Willy Loman demonstrates startling similarities to Chris Gardner in Gabriele Muccino’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.” The impact that their sons have on their decisions, the level of support from their significant others, and the men that offer them a pathway to happiness are all noteworthy relationships that reinforce the similarities between these protagonists. The bond between a father and son is one of the strongest feelings known to man: a manifestation of masculinity that cannot be attained in any other form.
In the dramas Macbeth by William Shakespeare and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the playwrights use the motifs of gender roles and fantasy vs. reality to further characterize the protagonist. Both Shakespeare and Miller use gender roles throughout their dramas to reveal more about the character of the tragic hero. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth uses her power over Macbeth to convince him that murdering King DUncan is the only path to ensure their prosperity. She expresses this feeling in stating "glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promised. Yet i do fear thy nature; it is too full o'th'milk of human kindness."
Willy Loman, whom people say is the protagonist of the play, shares a very complex relationship with many different people in his life, specifically, his eldest son Biff. Critics suggest that Willy cannot be the protagonist because although he is present throughout the play, and we know lots about him, his son Biff is also noticed in the same way as Willy and is a strong character who seems to, at times, help Willy get through life. Throughout the play, a strong theme of realisation is displayed amongst the two characters, Willy and Biff. A major realisation is that of Biff no longer wanting to, or trying, to be the man his father seems to so desperately want him to be.
Verbal Idiosyncrasies Reflective of Characters’ Mind Verbal idiosyncrasies of their peculiar cast of mind. For example, Willy projects his confusion symbolically he admires two individuals who epitomize values that are equally important to him but incompatible with each other. At one extreme stands Dave Singleman, recipient of a salesman’s highest reward; at the other pole is Willy’s elder brother Ben. Whereas Dave Singleman stands for love and affection (for it is through love what he acquires material gain from his customers), Ben stands for acquisition by force (for Ben acquired goods through force).
A strong link can be made between the song “Atlantic City” that has words that reflect on the story Death of a salesman. The overall theme of this photo essay connects to the American dream and how it was only a dream for Willy Loman. This connection is evident throughout the photos through the album as well as quotations from the song that relate to the story Death of a salesman. In the song “Atlantic City”, it talks about a man who has lot debts and life problems, which relate to Willy Loman.
Comparing Willy Loman’s and his dreams to the average American and their American Dream helps illuminate how to not achieve the American Dream. Willy Loman was an unrealistic thinking salesman who believed he was living in his American Dream which consisted of being loved by his peers, having a large amount of money, and good personality. He was none of these things, only his family attended his funeral, he could not afford life insurance anymore, and people believed he was arrogant. His wife explains “Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper.
A delusional father. A failed son. A broken home. The problematic situations of a troubled family in their day-to-day affairs and in their relationships with one another.
A “Tragic Hero” can be defined as someone of high stature that is blind to reality and makes decisions that eventually lead to his downfall. Arthur Miller challenged that idea in his play Death of a Salesman. He brought this idea that a low man, a common man can be a tragic hero. A tragic hero needs to be a character that anyone can relate to and feel empathy for.
In history, there have been an innumerable amount of plays written, but none so flawlessly encapsulate the realities of achieving the American dream than Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun by Arthur Miller and Lorraine Hansberry respectively. Although the two plays are very different, the characters and the issues they face, at its core, parallel each other because they both deal with the failure of dreams. Both set in the 1940s, Death of a Salesman deals with a white family’s unrealized dreams while in Brooklyn, New York, whereas A Raisin in the Sun concerns the turmoil of an African American family living in the southside of Chicago about agreeing on the same dream. As Terrence Smith and Mike Miller wrote, “The purpose of drama is not to define thought but to provoke it,” essentially stating that drama is not merely meant to entertain and instruct the viewer what to think, but to pose as a form of expression to inspire people to reevaluate rigid opinions and make society examine itself in a mirror.