Death of a Salesman both defines the American Dream and warns us against it. Do you agree?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller certainly defines the American Dream and warns us about it. However, the American Dream that is described is mostly Willy Loman's version of it: A lifestyle in which you are well-liked, successful, and ahead of everybody else. Unfortunately for Willy, he could not even achieve his own version of the dream. He became overconfident in his "formula" for achieving success and forgot to balance reality and fantasy. In the end, Willy's dream shattered along with those of his entire family.

The way that the play warns us about the American Dream is perhaps best described by Biff when he said that his father had "the wrong dream all along." Willy wanted to repeat the success and mimic the life of another man who did succeed as a salesman. If he had followed his true calling in life he would have indeed been successful. Maybe his idea of the American Dream would have been different, and his life would have been worth living. Therefore, the play warns us that the American Dream is not necessarily a lifestyle based on financial gain and professional success, but in knowing what is important to us and safekeeping it for all it is worth.


dimplesingle | Student

during those times, people generally tended to think that American dream meant money or anything related to money. It was largely believed that money was key to happiness. Therefore, Miller tried to change the image of the people. He tried to show the expected results of the dream which was related to surface rather than the real life.

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Death of a Salesman

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