Death of a Salesman by Term Paper

Total Length: 1938 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

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Critic Heyen says, "There is no question but that the play is elusive. As Miller himself has said, 'Death of a Salesman is a slippery play to categorize because nobody in it stops to make a speech objectively stating the great issues which I believe it embodies'" (Heyen 47). Therefore, many critics look at the play in different ways, attempting to categorize it and reference it according to their literary and dramatic experience. Heyen, on the other hand, tries to give his own personal reaction to the play, which is that Willy dies happy because he thinks what he is doing is right. He says, "Willy Loman, and this is his new and peculiar dimension, ends up dying happily, ecstatically, because he holds to the dream of meaning, holds to his sort of spiritual Franklinism" (Heyen 56). Willy dies happy, believing he is doing the right thing, and in the end, the insurance money is more important than his life, his family, and his dreams.

In conclusion, "Death of a Salesman" is a tragic story of the American dream gone bad, and a man who is a complete failure, unable to care for his family or find his dreams. Instead of providing and caring for his family, he has made a muddle of his life, becoming a disappointment to his sons and himself.
He also confuses the "true" American dream of possibilities and equality for all with the "modern" view of the American dream, business success and wealth. Willy is a failure not because he has not attained these things, but because he believes they are the most important things in life. Another critic writes, "As Arthur Miller said in an interview, 'The trouble with Willy Loman is he has tremendously powerful ideas.' But he yearns toward them more than he lives by them" (Jacobson 44). His views are skewed, and so are his morals, which is why he can kill himself supposedly to help his family. He is a picture of the American dream gone bad, and a tragic hero because of it.


Clurman, Harold. "Willy Loman and the American Dream." Readings on Arthur Miller. Ed. Tomas Siebold. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997. 132-136.

Heyen, William. "Authur Miller's Death of a Salesman and the American Dream." Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House,1988. 47-57.

Jacobson, Irving. "Family Dreams in Death of a Salesman." Critical Essays on Arthur Miller. Ed. James J. Martine. Boston G.K. Hall & Co., 1979. 44-52

Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman."….....

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