Theme Of Alienation In Death Of A Salesman

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Often regarded as “the conscience of American drama,” Arthur Miller uses his works as a strong attack against the illusion of the American dream which can be literally traced back to Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. Different from F. Scott Fitzgerald who presents the disillusionment of the American dream in The Great Gatsby from the perspective of the upper class, Miller penetrates the illusion by depicting the lower class’s tragedy in his plays, especially in Death of a Salesman. As a critique of the American dream, the play focuses on the salesman Willy Loman who is always in a zealous pursuit of both his and his sons’ success. Underneath Loman’s years of hard work, the sense of alienation in the New York city, the family life and the business world unveils the illusion of the American dream.
The disconnection between Willy’s family and their living environment is obvious in the play. For the family, the neighborhood in New York “boxed” them with “bricks and windows, windows and bricks” (12), which indicates that Willy Loman is alienated from the New York City and his neighborhood. Although he always seeks success and reputation in the city, the sense of estrangement has already suffocated him, as his conversation with his wife Linda shows,
WILLY: The street is lined with cars. There is not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember
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