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Death of a Salesman and the American Dream

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The character of Willy Loman was one of these people. He worked his entire life to be able to provide for his family and give them everything they desired. Throughout the play of Death of a Salesman the main worries that Willy had always seemed to revolve around two ideas. The money he had and wished to have, and the way that others perceived him. To Willy and many other people back in that day and age image was everything. How did he look? Did he have a lot of friends? Did people know who he was? These were all questions that were in Willy's head constantly. He mentions many times in the book how so many people know and like him and how so many doors open for well-liked people. For example in the play he states, "America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there'll be open sesame for all of us, 'cause one thing boys: I have friends" (Miller 31).

The second main worry that Willy Loman always had was dreaming of all of the objects that he wish he could have and the little money that he actually had. The only thing is that when he did actually own the nice objects all he did was worry about how he would pay off the bills for it. He was always worrying about paying for it, or paying to fix it. He was never just content. This happened with his car, his refrigerator, and many other objects that he just had to have. As he states in the play, "Once in my life I would like to own something outright before its broken! I'm always in a race with the junk yard! I just finished paying for the car and it's on its last legs. The refrigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac. They time those things. They time them so when you finally paid for them, they're used up" (Miller 73). Willy was always struggling with something. He could never just be happy with his family and the objects they already had.

Along with the ideal of the American dream also comes struggle. Whether it is struggling to obtain an object or an image, it is always a reoccurring theme in every American life, and in every tradgedy. The character of Willy Loman is not one that would be looked at as a hero like Oedipus or Hamlet. He was just an average man that was trying to become above average. He was not born of noble stature or given a predestined fate. He was simply just trying to attain a dream that is unattainable. If Willy Loman would have just looked at himself in the mirror and said that he was a great man and had a great family then maybe he would have been able to actually live happily ever after instead of ending his life as he did. As Miller states in his essay "I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity" (Miller's essay). Willy was



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