Sacrifice In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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“How much a dollar really cost? The question is detrimental, paralyzin’ my thoughts.” Kendrick Lamar asks the question for the era. In his 2015 song “How Much a Dollar Cost” Lamar weighs US currency against things that people sacrifice to get money and lets the world know that he has come to the realization that what we sacrifice, outweighs the money in our bank accounts. This type of thinking, however, is not necessarily a new variety. A popular post war playwright, Arthur Miller, reflects upon this idea that the material ideals of society influence much sacrifice in the lives of the people in his play Death of a Salesman. Salesman is an extremely popular play and is considered by many to be one of the best plays ever to be written. It’s widespread…show more content…
This sentence will serve as a spoiler alert. A salesman dies in this play. That salesman’s name is Willy Loman, and he is survived by his wife Linda and their two sons Biff and Happy. Willy Loman leads a life of a working middle class man attempting to survive and pay off the debt he has accumulated by living in a capitalistic society as a salesman. Trouble is, Willy is aging and beginning to go insane. Willy has intermittent interruptions to his daily life by his own memories. In multiple stages of Willy’s life, as written in the dialogue of Willy’s memories, he preaches to his sons about how they will inevitably be successful in life because of their good looks and because they are “well liked”. However, his son Biff fails left and right, which angers Willy to the point that his and Biff’s relationship falls apart and becomes one full of angst and resentment. Willy sacrificed his relationship with his son because Biff wasn’t as successful as Willy had expected or planned for him to be. Success in Willy’s eyes equates to money and social prowess, whereas from Biff’s perspective success is measured by level of happiness. Biff comes to the realization that his father’s perception of success is flawed after failing to speak to a former employer about funding a business enterprise that he and Happy had planned. Biff

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