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In majority of mankind, there exists something magical and overpowering which allows some people to be successful and live in mansions with helipads while others live in underground tunnels and passageways having to beg for their everyday meals. In Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" Miller uses various characters to portray the difference between success and failure in the society. One of the characters Willy is described to be a dreamy salesman whose imaginations surpass his ability, Linda on the other hand is Willy's wife who stands by him despite his lack of realism. Biff and Happy are portrayed as the two blind mice that blindly follow in their father's fallacy of life while Ben is the only member of the Loman family with that special characteristic to initiate success in life. Other characters are Charlie and his son Bernard who are more successful in life than the Lomans.
Willie Lowman's idea of the American
Miller in Death of a Salesman avoids mentioning the specific products that Willy Loman sells. One of the reasons why this is so may be because Willy represents everyone in our society today. This implies that the audience is free to imagine Willy's profession with the career of their own and this way, Miller succeeds in connecting with the viewers. The American dream according to the protagonist of the 'Death of a Salesman' is to be successful by mere charisma. According to Willy, the key to success is personality and not handwork and innovation. Willy makes sure that his boys are popular an example of this being when his son Biff confesses of making fun of the math teacher's lisp and Willy is more concerned with how Biff's classmates react. Willy's version of the American dream is seen not to pan out and despite his son Biff popularity in school, the kid grows up to be a drifter and a ranch hand. Willy's own career falters when he too attempts to ask for a raise from his boss using 'personality' but gets fired instead.
Biff's American Dream
Biff is portrayed as being confused and angry since the discovery of his father's infidelity. Despite this, Biff has the potential to pursue the right dream if only he makes the right choice. Biff is pulled by two conflicting dreams one being his father's world of business, sales and capitalism. The other dream on the other hand pulls him towards nature, great outdoors and working with his hands. Towards the end of the play, Biff comes to the realization that his father had the 'wrong' dream. According to Biff, his father was great with his hands but opted to sell nameless and unidentified products ultimately leading to his American dream falling apart (pp. 246). Biff decides not to allow what happened to his father to happen to him and decides to turn away from Wily's dream and returns to the countryside where turning to manual labor seem to be the only content to his restless soul.
Happy's American dream
Happy who is the youngest never realizes his father's fallacy of being popular and well liked. Happy follows his father's footsteps by becoming a salesman where he lams t have a position in his company while the fact is that he is in the lower brackets of the company's administration. According to the perception from his father; happy is content with his life and fails to see himself for who he is unlike his brother who finally has the epiphany for who he is and what he stands for. "Happy never comes to the realization of the phony part of his father's American dream hence he leads his life worshipping his father from afar since according to him, he is favored by nature and his father"(pp.142).