Willie Loman’s American Dream in the Death of a Salesman

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The American Dream is the idea that in society, upward mobility is possible for everyone irrespective of where they were born or what class they were born into, will attain their own version of success. I personally think that the “American Dream” has been overrated. Let’s face it, it’s gone. Not only is this a fantasy that many Americans lust after, this is a highly sought vision that is far out of reach for most working-class people. Despite working hard to pursue the American Dream and to have a stable and successful life in America, increasing college and housing costs and lower pay in some states raise debt for many Americans. While other people around the world come to this country to achieve the American dream, they are hindered by all the costs that exist in being part of it.

This “vision” is difficult to accomplish if you are the only breadwinner in your household. Families can no longer live comfortably, and in some cases even survive, on the income of a single individual. Home, housing, and childcare expenses coupled with disproportionately low salaries frequently leave families in a tough financial condition, rendering it practically impossible to “keep up with the Kardashians.” Realistically speaking, most people live in the moment. We’re focused on issues going on in our lives right now. Life itself is a constant search for happiness and stability in a world that is always unpredictable. That’s what I think but for most people, the “American Dream” may be full of smiles, wealth, love, health, cars, whatever they want, everybody has a different opinion. One person’s American Dream may be completely different from everyone else’s, that’s what makes us all individuals.

The “American Dream” is also a common theme in the movie, “Death of a Salesman”. The play indirectly reflects on the unrealistic American dream through the traumatic disputes the take place in a family with four members. Willy Loman, the patriarch of the family and Linda Loman, his wife, have two sons namely, Biff Loman and Happy Loman. Willy Loman is an incompetent and self-deluding traveling salesman; whose life is unbearable because he struggles in both his professional and personal life. His dismissal from the job and his subsequent acts clearly demonstrate how misguided his ambitions are. He also had no decent relationship with his two sons in his personal life, but showed fake joy, even though he felt humiliated inside.

The American Dream is a definite aspiration for everyone, meaning something special to all. Nonetheless, Willie’s view is different from other people; he is more focused on being well-liked and gaining monetary success rather than doing something that will make him happy. Willy never becomes part of the “American Dream,” since his true hopes and expectations are never pursued. He prefers a career to make him money, but not much, rather than a career he enjoys. It is the biggest mistake Willy makes in his life and he never overcomes it in the end. Willy never becomes part of the American Dream and instead of spending his life doing something that will bring him and his family happiness, he wants to become popular and rich.

I would say that Willie Loman story is a tragedy. Willie Loman goes through his life blindly, never realizing the full truth of himself. Willie refuses to admit that he’s a failure. You could say that the idea of tragic flaw is seen in Willie through his delusional personality. Also, like almost all tragic heroes, Willie’s mistakes made in ignorance causes his own downfall. In the end, Willie’s delusions led him to take his own life.


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Willie Loman’s American Dream in the Death of a Salesman. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/willie-lomans-american-dream-in-the-death-of-a-salesman/

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