Death of a Salesman Quotes by Arthur Miller
Famous Quotes from Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'
Willy's self-definition is centered around his career. He isn't the man who does sales for New England - he's the New England man. He believes himself to be vital to the company, but in reality it's the company that's vital to him and his feelings of self worth. When he discovers that he isn't vital anywhere, his worldview crumbles. Willy's recipe for success is based entirely around a cult of personality. Most people are liked by their friends and acquaintances. But only great men, according to Willy, are truly well-liked - and that is what brings them success.
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The American Dream that anyone can achieve financial success and material comfort lies at the heart of Death of a Salesman. Various secondary characters achieve the Dream in different ways: Ben goes off into the wilderness of Alaska and Africa and lucks into wealth by discovering a diamond mine; Howard Wagner inherits his Dream through his father's company; while Bernard , who seemed a studious bore as a child, becomes a successful lawyer through hard work. Willy Loman 's version of the Dream, which has been influenced by his brother Ben's success, is that any man who is manly, good looking, charismatic, and well-liked deserves success and will naturally achieve it. Over the course of his lifetime, Willy and his sons fall short of the impossible standards of this dream. But the real tragedy of the play is not that Willy fails to achieve the financial success promised in his American dream, but rather that he buys into the dream so thoroughly that he ignores the tangible things around him, such as the love of his family, while pursuing the success he hopes will bring his family security. By sacrificing himself at the end of the play in order to get his family the money from his life insurance policy, Willy literally kills himself for money. In the process, he demonstrates that the American dream, while a powerful vehicle of aspiration, can also turn a human being into a product or commodity whose sole value is his financial worth.
Willy Loman, the titular character in "Death of a Salesman," spent his whole life pursuing what he thought was the American Dream.
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