Free Essay: Book Review of Death of a Salesman

Published: 2023-03-02
6 min read

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, covers the ongoing hope to attain the American Dream. Willy Loman, who is the main character, is an elderly salesman who is not getting enough income to support his family. All his life he is driven by the statement that if you are well-liked, you will succeed which never served as accurate in his family eyes. Throughout the play, Willy`s sons are always at home. Biff, the elder son, was a superstar in high school as a quarterback heading to the University of Virginia to play football. Biff was a golden boy, a rising football star with Willy having high hopes for him. He failed math and did not attain enough credits to graduate which turns his life upside down. Biff has come back from a ranching job in Texas.

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Happy, on the other hand, is a neglected child searching for approval and attention from his father but adores his brother Biff. Although he has an apartment elsewhere, he is at home and is always the second-best even when he is following the footsteps of his father. He possesses some inferiority complex but works hard to be good. Both boys are testosterone-fueled womanizers bragging to each other the women they have been with or will have (Miller). Linda supports Willy in his misguided self-delusions and dreams and does the same for the boys if they are doing something to raise their father.

Willy is at fragile crossroads for the life of a successful salesman, father of sons thought to be more successful salesmen was not working out. He claims that the essential part of life is to be well-liked and will open doors. The delusions of success by Willy are described all over the play. The character of Willy is a deluded individual who mistakenly interpreted the American dream. He is an epitome of every stupid individual attracted by notions of the only thing a person has in this world is what they can sell. He is an archetypal lower-middle standards man in America, his actions are not extraordinary, and nothing limits virtue but not deserving a procured lonely suicide. He is fallible due to his series of selfish acts stemming from Willy proud fathering.

Willy at the beginning was Happy and Biff`s hero and his poignant wanting for the idyllic youth days where he remembers "the ruddiness of (Biff`s) cheeks" shows his investment in his kids. The investment in his son leads to him committing suicide or as it is said by Ben, commit himself to" a twenty-thousand-dollar preposition." (Miller). Willy was a victim of a ruthless capitalist system which makes Willy state that he was "worth more dead than alive." William suicide indicates that his failure in his career as a salesman made him a failure in life by default. His death is, however, incomprehensible to Linda, his wife. Linda is affected by many ideals of capitalism, but she does not pursue any of them as Willy did. Her expressed views are compatible with his ideology all over the play.

Linda finds it challenging to understand why Willy would sacrifice her love and his life for the sake of money; she is a mild capitalist. However, not all individuals that pursue the American Dream are abandoned and delusional as Willy. Ben who is a pioneering capitalist, is an indication of the system benefits, describes Willy as a "success incarnate." (Miller). Charley, the "immovable, laconic" neighbor embodies a man who is silently hardworking and earns what he deserves. The play portrays the need to reform the system that leaves the Willy Loman`s of the present world dying of materialism to benefit the society. Howard is somewhat heartless by dismissing Willy who has worked in the firm for a long time.

Work Cited

Miller, A. (1996). Death of a Salesman: Revised Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Penguin.

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