The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay
The American Dream is a great ideal. Some know the secret to success, to the full financial rewards of the dream; they leave everybody else in their wake, envious, yearning to understand how they did it. At the same time, those left behind foster illusions about how they might achieve the dream. Perhaps the easy way, by chance, by walking into the jungle one day a slub and out the next wealthy, like winning the lottery of life. Or if you have to labor, you can work overtime ingratiating yourself to people, deluding yourself into thinking friends and likability are the tickets to the dream. In the end, you either snap out of your delusion and try living your life to your strengths and to satisfying yourself, or you run your jalopy off a bridge in yet another delusion that you will finally provide for your family and win their love, respect, and forgiveness for your past transgressions.
It's one of the greatest of American plays everybody should read again (assuming you read it already in high school) later in life, after living has beaten you up a bit. Miller was only thirty-four in 1949 when it premiered on Broadway. While relatively young in years, he'd been through and experienced a lot, going from a member of a family of wealth to poverty. He was able to capture just how illusory and deadly the American Dream can be. Why the play continues to be read and performed is because it tells a truth most all of us feel deep in our souls.