Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does the play Death of a Salesman criticize capitalism and the American way of life?

Expert Answers info

emilyknight7 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write235 answers

starTop subject is Literature

The play centers around the tragic and frustrating death of the salesman Willy Loman. As a person who believed aggressively and relentlessly in the American dream of pulling oneself up through working hard and being charming and in the gaining of wealth leading to happiness, his character embodied blind faith in capitalism and the American way of life.

For example, in Act 1, when Willy learns about his first-born son Biff's inability to make something of himself professionally, he ponders it over:

"WILLY: Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff— he’s not lazy.

LINDA: Never.

WILLY: [with pity and resolve]: I’ll see him in the morning; I’ll have a nice talk with him. I’ll get him a job selling. He could be big in no time."

Willy's blind optimism in the American system and its endless opportunities for someone who is attractive and hard working is his...

(The entire section contains 648 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial