Willy Loman And The Common Misconception Of The “A

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Willy Loman and the Common Misconception of the “American Dream” Throughout Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman chases after the popular “American Dream” of the 1900s-to be a successful businessman with the white picket fence around your house, modern technology (such as cars and refrigerators), and the satisfaction of being able to provide for your own family. Unfortunately, this chase causes the Loman family to fail in their jobs and eventually leads Willy to commit suicide. It is easy to blame Willy for his death by simply calling him crazy, however there are many different factors that added to Willy’s fragile state. Fred Ripkoff states that in order to understand the identity crisis of Loman (and other Miller characters), that “it is necessary to understand shame’s relationship to guilt and identity.” (1). Willy struggled with finding his identity because he was so caught up in his chase for his “American Dream”. He refused to confront any feelings of shame because he was convinced it would make him look bad. However, in order to find one’s self, one must confront these feelings-no matter how painful they may be. Ripkoff also states that “the denial of such feelings cripples Willy and the rest of the Loman family.” (1). Willy’s oldest son Biff finally confronted these feelings in the end of the play and discovered his true identity, thus avoiding the same fate as his father. In a scene where Willy begs his brother Ben to stay with him a few more days, Willy reveals feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. He begs “Can’t you stay a few days? You’re just what I need, Ben, because I- - I have a fine position here, but I - - well, Dad left when I was such a baby and I never had a chance to talk to him and I still feel - - kind of temporary about myself.” (Arp, Johson, and Perrine 1475). The dashes, which represent self conscious pauses,
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