10 December 2013
The Failed American Dream: Analysis of Death of a Salesman
A tragedy play is a source of drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to extreme suffer or sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with lack of approval or support. Arthur Miller’s tragedy play, Death of a Salesman can be viewed as a urology of a man who was a constant dreamer, which represents his life and tragic death as he tries to fulfill his visions of having the American Dream. American tragedy explores the great myths that govern a society by examining the lives of its most ordinary citizens. Miller vividly ...view middle of the document...
I opened the windshield and just let the warm air bathe over me. And then all of a sudden I’m goin’ off the road! I’m tellin’ya, I absolutely forgot I was driving. If I’d’ve gone the other way over the white line I might’ve killed somebody. So I went on again — and five minutes later I’m dreamin’ again, and I nearly... I have such thoughts; I have such strange thoughts (Death.1.22).
Willy is soon to be drawn to death. He is tempted by suicide not because he fails to understand his situation but because he does. It is for this reason that he tracks back through his life in memory, restlessly searching for the moment when he betrayed life, or it betrayed him (Critical). Later throughout the play we learn that he is “playing” with the idea of suicide, he has attached a little hose to a gas line in the basement. Although he tells his wife Linda, that by “crossing the white line” he might have killed somebody, rather than himself accidentally injuring someone else, it is him that he eventually kills. Could it be that his “strange thoughts” are his suicidal fantasies because his reality of life does not match his American dream? Willy’s last name is ironically Loman. Willy Loman, has long been viewed as the American little man, the “low man”, the traveling salesman who, at more than sixty years of age, fears that his life is unsuccessful.
Loman wants success but the meaning of that need extends beyond the accumulation of wealth, security, goods, and well known status (Family). His two adult sons, Biff and Happy, are on a rare visit back home. The relationship between Biff and his father is forced. Willy thinks his son Biff is a lazy bum (Death.1.50) considering that he has not found himself a steady career at the age of thirty-four. Left alone, Willy starts to daydream in the kitchen about when his boys were teenagers. Within these reminisces are also hints of where things started to go wrong for Willy. He receives a visit by his friend Charley, who offers him a job, which Willy proudly rejects, “Don’t insult me...I got a good job” (1.414-416). Throughout the play, Willy frequently drifts in and out of the present, by interacting with characters from his past. We come in contact with The Woman whom Willy has been seeing. She is a secretary that puts Willy through to the buyers. He has been meeting her on the road to cheer him up. He tells his wife Linda how he feels: ‘Cause I get so lonely — especially when business is bad and there’s nobody to talk to I get the feeling that I’ll never Sell anything again, that I won’t make a living for you, or a business, a business for the boys…(1.335)
The second act open happily with Willy...