What is Willy Loman’s view of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman?

I'm doing an essay on the American Dream and whether Willy's obsession with it lead to his tragic downfall. So basically I just need to compare Willy's twisted view of the American dream to the real american dream. So if you could just help me with what his view of the american dream is, if you could tell me quotes from the play to help me back it up that would be really helpful. :)

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3 Responses to “What is Willy Loman’s view of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman?”

  1. concede says:

    Your comment that Loman’s view of the American Dream is ‘twisted’ itself opens up many issues, socially, and personally. Willy Loman, in my opinion, represents the downfall of the american dream as it is traditionally viewed. He does not represent an altered view of some beautiful fantasy. The american dream is essentially a flawed concept, and Loman shows this in devastating fashion. He buys into the commercialism of society (buying appliances he cannot afford), only to find that when items are paid off, they no longer work.Loman does not see any error in his ways, fails to understand his crippling money problems, and when, in short monologues he admits defeat, he falls into a fantasy of the past. The past not being better, but being further from the desperate truth that he has no money, no prospects, and that the shining light of his son has fallen into the same fate.The defining characteristic of the american dream through Lomans’ eyes comes in his disregard for manual labour and work. Loman, clearly a talented craftsman, refuses to believe this to be a suitable profession, instead sticking to marketing and sales, and true entrepreneurial industries that cripple Willy Loman in the play, and many delusional people in real society (the true lo man, that Miller expresses).

  2. scrimpiest says:

    His view of the American Dream was not “twisted”. It was simply unattainable, and that was a tragedy for him.

  3. chuan-hs says:

    I’m actually working on this play right now. And @ … was right, his dream wasn’t twisted, it was actually pretty spot on.Willy believes that if your well liked and work hard then it will pay off in the end. Which is pretty much the American dream.I don’t know the exact quotes, but if you have the play, in the middle of act Two, after Willy talks to Harold and gets fired he has a flash back to Biff’s big game then he talks to Bernard and Charlie when he comes back to reality. There’s lots of quotes in there about this ‘dream’ that he has for him and his sons and it basically sums of his view (look at the conversation between him and Charlie, the present on, not his flash back, it ends with him telling Charlie that he’s the only friend he has). Also, Willy keeps thinking back to his brother Ben who ‘walked into the jungle when I was 17 and when I walked out, by god I was rich!’ It’s sort of his biggest regret, because Ben got rich in Africa (although he meant to go to Alaska) and before he left he asked Willy to go with him, but he didn’t. Also,m just another thought, the last name, ‘Loman’ Willy is a ‘Low-man’ (in society, lower middle class, or possibly upper Lower class) I think the basis of the American dream is that it doesn’t matter where you start, anyone could end up rich. Which isn’t necessarily untrue, it’s just not likely to happen. Now Willy believes it could happen to anyone, that he and his family are all extraordinary (at least himself and Biff) so much that every story he remembers is trumped up in his head. It’s Biff who finally figures it out (towards the end of act two: “I’m a dollar a day pop, I work in (?) states and that’s all I am, a dollar a day”), Biff realizes that it’s doesn’t matter if he’s well liked and hard working and Willy had it so built up in his head that he was extraordinary that he could never accept it until he came home and had to face his father and his memories of what he was and what he did. Anyway, just a few thoughts, I love this play and could probably go on but I don’t have the text in front of me to give you any exact examples.