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Loman & the American Dream

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 02:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.6 
  • Words: 1287
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During the 1940s, American society became increasingly consumerist and more competitive than ever before. Arthur Miller’s play ‘Death of a Salesman’ questions the values upon which this society is based and the way in which these contribute to the destruction of a man such as Willy Loman. He is very critical of a society which he seems to see as being destructive in many ways. The idea of the ‘American Dream’ made people believe that any man living in America could, with personality and dedication, become very successful. Miller has launched a somewhat scathing attack on the very notion of this dream. He highlights the many flaws within it; how such an idea can mislead good men like Willy, who devotes his entire life to being successful.   The emphasis on being an owner of goods, the competitive nature of society, the callousness of the business world, the American Dream and the way in which success is measured are all criticised in ‘Death of a Salesman’.                                                          


Miller criticises the general way of the business world. Howard, the young boss of Willy's company, represents the ruthless and impersonal nature of capitalistic enterprise. When Willy goes to ask Howard if he can be transferred to a job in New York, Howard refuses to help him even though Willy has been working for the company for a long time and was good friends with his father. When Willy asks why he cannot be reassigned, Howard replies, ‘it’s a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight,’ thus demonstrating Howard's cold indifference to Willy’s situation. Willy failed to live the American Dream; he worked all his life and was then spat mercilessly out, spent like a ‘piece of fruit.’   Willy remembers the ‘comradeship and gratitude’ that used to exist in the business world, but sees that it is no longer like that, everything is now ‘cut and...

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