The American Dream in Death of a Salesman
The American Dream is different for all the characters in Death of a Salesman, but they do have one thing in common, they are all looking for success in America. To be successful in the 20th century one must be able to accept change, for the world never stays constant for long. The goal of every North American is the American Dream, which is what trapped Willy Loman in the play. Willy's inability to adapt to the changing world around him leads to his tragic demise. His perspective is similar to a child's; he is never willing to take responsibility for his actions. As a result of his immaturity, Willy builds these enormous dreams, which are unrealistic for a man of his age. In the very last scene we realize that Happy will be following in his father’s footsteps. Happy has the same beliefs and maybe has the same end as Willy.
Willy Loman, the main character in the play, believes wholeheartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream—that a “well liked” and “personally attractive” man in business will certainly and at the proper time acquire the material comforts offered by modern American life. Oddly, his fixation with the superficial qualities of attractiveness and likeability is at odds with a more gritty, more rewarding understanding of the American Dream that identifies hard work without complaint as the key to success. Willy’s interpretation of likeability is superficial—he childishly dislikes Bernard because he considers Bernard a nerd. Willy’s blind faith in his dim version of the American Dream leads to his rapid psychological decline when he is unable to accept the difference between the Dream and his own life.
Happy, Willy's youngest son, unfortunately has the same views of life as Willy. He is trying his best to not be in his brother’s shadow, but no matter what he does his parents do not acknowledge him. He dreams of having lots of money and lots of women. He does not think about a stable...