American Dream Throughout time people have been striving for the American dream and financial success. In Arthur Millers, Death of a Salesman, the entire story focuses on the search for success and the American dream. Each character possesses a certain belief about financial success and the American dream. There are many different points of view of each character gives a message to the audience which defines success and the dream. In Arthur Millers, Death of a Salesman, the Loman family with the exception of Ben, had a certain lack of reality, which restrained the Loman's American dream.
All of the characters defiantly have problems with reality. Willy Loman is the most delusional of the play, often having many hallucinations and flashbacks. Willy was unable to live up to his own expectations of success. Ben, Willy's brother, is quite the opposite of his sibling.
He is an extremely successful person who is wealthy. However it is quite hard to distinguish Ben as a real person of a figment of Willy's imagination. Biff Loman is Willy's grown son who is the oldest child in the family. Biff has been traveling around from job to job without lasting success.
Charlie, Willy's neighbor and his only friend, tries to help Willy but Willy doesn't take to his kindness. All of these characters send different opinions to the audience about dealing with the American dream and financial successes of the era. Willy, the main character of the story, is an elderly salesman who is at the end of his career. He develops a problem with reality and telling the difference between the present and the past. He lives in a delusional world and possesses strange beliefs about success. The company Willy worked has cut his salary and now he only works on commission.
Willy goes back and forth through the entire play with different flashbacks of what happened in the past shows his lack of reality. Ben's ideas about success are very different from his brother Willy's beliefs on the subject. Ben has always been successful and left his brother when they were young to pursue fortunes in Alaska and Africa. Ben in this story is a excellent symbol of success which makes Willy feel diminutive about himself.
Ben's beliefs about the American dreams are about conquest of new territory. Willy had the chance to become partners with Ben, but refused and missed the diamond fortune his brother obtained. It's apparent that Ben's character and his way of life is what Willy wants and desires for his own life. Biff viewpoint on success derives from his father like many peoples.
He believes that success is dependent on how much people like someone. For a long time Biff believes that his life has been full of success but he soon realizes that his fathers illusions are nothing but holding him down. His father always thought that his life was going to be different than the life that he had. He begins to resent every word his father says to him. In the scene where Bernard, Charlie's son, informs Biff about his failing grade in Math, Willy says, that is unimportant he has scholarships from three schools. In Willies mind Bernard was the competition to Biff and now Bernard is a successful lawyer.
In the end Biff believes his father is full of lies and illusions. His idea of and American dream is doing something he really enjoys outdoors using his muscles. His father is pushing him to be successful in business but that is not what he desires. Biff finally realizes that he is a "dime a dozen" but his father replies with "I am not a dime a dozen, I am Willy Loman and you are Biff Loman". That scene really shows each of there beliefs about success and themselves. In the end Biff realizes his father's problems and delusions and becomes at peace with himself and now knows what he wants to do with his life.
Charlie is Willy's only friend in the world. They often talk and he seems to be the voice of reason in the play. He is nothing but nice to Willy and offers him a job at his business, but Willy responds with a fit of anger because if he would take the job it would prove him unsuccessful.