Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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In Death of a Salesman, how do Willy Loman's motivations change him?

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Willy Loman's primary motivation is to become a successful salesman and attain the American Dream by becoming financially secure. Unfortunately, Willy Loman fails to realize that being well-liked and popular does not translate into success. Although Willy enjoys working with his hands and being outdoors, he sacrifices his true desires in an attempt to attain the American Dream. During Willy's funeral, Charlie mentions that Willy had all the wrong dreams and his pursuit of the American Dream was futile. Willy’s motivation to become wealthy also contributes to his mental instability. As a failed salesman, Willy begins to hallucinate and becomes completely delusional. One could argue that his motivation to be a success contributes to his mental instability.

In addition to sacrificing his desires and engaging in an unfulfilling job, Willy's motivation to attain the American Dream also ruins his relationship with his son, Biff. Instead of cherishing Biff's personal attributes and encouraging him to find a job he desires, Willy holds his son to unreasonable expectations and is upset that he has not attained financial success. Willy believes that Biff has purposely failed to become a success out of spite and will never be satisfied until Biff becomes a wealthy, established businessman. Overall, Willy's motivation to attain the American...

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