Essay on American Dream in Death of a Salesman

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  909 Words
Date:  2022-03-28


The American dream is one of the major themes that is portrayed in the book death of a salesman. Historically the American dream referred to that dream of a land in which life should be better and more productive and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. The American dream is one of the national ethos that the united states use to emphasize how democracy plays a crucial function in ensuring that this dream is realized through upholding of the rights of men and women within the American society. In describing the American dream with reference to the death of a salesman, I shall focus on two characters in this book that is Willy Loman and Biff Loman.

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American Dream According to Willy Loman

Willy Loman is the protagonist in the death of a salesman, and despite his old age he still holds on to the belief about his version of the American dream. According to Willy Loman, the American dream means ones are becoming successful by being able to use one's personality. According to him, a person can become very successful through the use of his popularity within the society. The protagonist does not believe that an individual can be able to fulfill their dreams by being innovative and burning the midnight oil. An example of this obsession for popularity is when he is more concerned about the popularity of his children in school rather than how there are progressing in other aspects of life.

In Arthurs Miller's the death of a salesman Willy Loman was unsuccessful in achieving the American dream because at his old age he had not realized the dream that he had for his young boys as well as those that he had for himself. Willy Loman American dream seems to falter the moment he gets fired from his salesman job because of asking for a promotion based on his charismatic personality. In his mind, he thought his character was enough reason to make his bosses give him a promotion, but instead, he got fired from a firm he had dedicated most of life by working as a salesman. Being at home also he gets furious about how his life has turned and consequently gets angry at his family for not turning out the way he wanted.

Another failure of Willy Loman version of the American dream is the way his boys whom he thought to have strong personality and become popular have turned out. Besides growing to be men willy views his boys as lacking direction and not ready to face life. His version of the American dream was to enable his boys to climb up the ladder in the society by using their personality and popularity to amass wealth. This has not materialized, and Willy has nobody to tell him that his dreams are no longer achievable given his old age. His wife Linda chooses to be silent despite knowing all along that his husband was making the wrong decisions. Willy Loman's failure to achieve the American dream negatively affects his family despite his loyalty towards them he ends in regret and denial thinking about past opportunities he should have seized such as going to Africa with his brother who became wealthy by doing so.

Biffs American Dream

Biff is the eldest son of Willy Loman who views the American dream as living a quiet life without worrying about amassing the wealth of this world. His version of the American dream is mostly influenced by what he terms as failures of his fathers whom they accuse of making many wrong decisions. According to his upbringing biff was able to use his popularity and prowess in the sport in high school and was able to succeed in it. These sports activities earned him a scholarship however while talking to his brother he emphasizes how he dreams of working alone on a ranch and observing the scenic view of it.

Biff American dream was also unsuccessful just like his father because he was torn between choosing between following his father's footsteps or pursuing his own quiet life. Aside from getting scholarship Biff failed to graduate and has spent most of his time looking for a perfect job that suits seemingly making his life look unsettled. Learning of his father's infidelity negatively affected his progress, and he was unable to succeed because his father was not there to provide a shoulder to lean on when he needed him the most.


Biff inability to succeed because of his father's decision to stand by wrong American dreams vision makes him feels empty, and he sees himself as a failure just like his father. He also comes to notice that he has not achieved anything substantial in the society such as being a leader contrary to what his father expected him to turn out. The death of Willy Loman seems to be a revelation to him that he needs to move on and chooses the path that he feels is best for him. Biff American dream appears to be affected more by the regrets and the wrong decisions made by Willy Loman who focuses on unrealistic dreams till he dies. Biff decision to move to a quiet village after Willy Loman's death shows how men learn late in life about how they want to lead their lives but are tied to many unrealistic expectations within the society like the individual's American dreams.

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Essay on American Dream in Death of a Salesman. (2022, Mar 28). Retrieved from

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