How does Arthur Miller interpret the American Dream in his Death of a Salesman?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Arthur Miller's classic American play, Death of a Salesman, is an exploration of the American dream in terms of Willy Loman's search for an answer to the question "what went wrong?" in his quest to achieve the American dream.

Willy Loman's idea of the American dream is focused on appearances. Look good, be personable, and make friends. Willy believes that any man who does those things deserves to achieve the American dream and will naturally accomplish it:

WILLY: Bernard is not well liked, is he?

BIFF: He’s liked, but he’s not well liked.

HAPPY: That’s right, Pop.

WILLY: That’s just what I mean. Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1455 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 6, 2019
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team