The Role Of Pursuing The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

2074 Words9 Pages
The American dream is something that everyone attempts to achieve at some point in their lives. Simply stated, it represents the ideal that every American citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success through means of hard work and determination. Pursuing the American dream can often inspire motivation and desire in an individual. It can also positively transform a person into a driven and diligent individual with good ethics. The pursuit also has the ability to destroy a person’s dreams and lead him to the point of irrationality that results from the hopeless chase for stability. This occurs to several characters in Arthur Miller's composition entitled, Death of a Salesman. In the play, Willy is a traveling salesman whose main…show more content…
Willy experiences the most visions about Ben, his recently deceased older brother that found wealth and success in life. Every time that Willy envisions Ben, Willy mentions some form of, "If I'd gone with him to Alaska that time, everything would've been totally different" (pg.1252). Because Ben found a fortune when he went to Alaska and Willy did not go with him, Ben represents an embodiment of the Willy’s missed opportunity possible success. Despite the reader not knowing for sure if Willy would have made riches had he gone to Alaska with Ben, Alaska also embodies the missed opportunity that Willy passed up and constantly regrets since his own dreams of achieving success have not come to pass by being a mere traveling salesman. Because Willy believes that his chance for wealth and happiness has died out, he tries to live his dreams obsessively through his sons. He even goes so far as to ask his brother in an illusion for assistance, asking "Ben, how should I teach them?" (pg.1255). Willy asks for Ben's guidance because he wants his children to become rich and successful like Ben and not like Willy himself. Throughout the entirety of the play, wealth is Willy's primary concern instead of his children’s happiness. His concern for wealth is reproduced in the way he raises his sons and in his desire to help his sons achieve prosperity as he cannot achieve it on his own. Willy wants his sons to become rich no matter what they have to do to achieve it, even if Biff has to steal and Happy has to lie in order to do so. According to Galia Benziman, Willy’s hallucinations are not only due to his inability to succeed but instead

More about The Role Of Pursuing The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

Open Document