A Comparison Of Willy Loman And A Streetcar Named Desire

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The American Dream is defined as a collection of ideals enshrined within the constitution of the United States, allowing equal opportunity for prosperity and success and unfettered upward social mobility regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ encapsulates a harsh criticism of American capitalism, where the central character’s illusory belief in the manner in which success can be achieved is starkly contrasted by the actual reality of their failed achievements. The principles of the American Dream embody a life lived to its fullest potential. Williams’ ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ presents its main characters as unstable, out of touch with reality and representing a stark contrast between hypocritical…show more content…
In ‘Death of a Salesman’, Miller’s principle character Willy Loman places false importance on personal attractiveness and popularity and believes any man who is handsome, charismatic and ‘well-liked’ deserves success and will naturally achieve it. This is shown when he talks to Biff and Happy and says ‘be liked and you will never want’. As a result Biff, a star football player in High School, feels that the key to success in life is based on looks and personality. Happy reinforces this belief by using his personality to surround himself with women. However this ideal has proved to be inadequate in delivering the impossible standards of this dream. Miller carefully chooses Willy as a ‘salesman’ as this occupation does not involve manufacturing your own product, mastering a professional skill and promotes achieving success by offering the empty substance of dreams and promises. He is exposed to be a failed salesman who feels he has to ‘add up to something’, where, ironically, his clear lack of financial success reinforces the pursuit of this dream tragically leading to an inability to recognise the tangible love of his family and an inability to provide them financial security. These misplaced ideals are also evident in ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ where Blanche clearly misunderstands the harsh reality and shortcomings of her life. She dreams of life on the plantation (quote) where women were courted and treated like princesses. Having lost her home and money Blanche tragically resorts to using her body to survive. Williams portrays Blanche as deeply narcissistic, and demanding acquiescence into a belief that success is dependent on the power of beauty, feminine artifice, the dominance of the aesthetic – values that she has inherited from the Old South. This is shown (QUOTE). In contrast Stanley

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