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Each person has his own desirable dream and at some way strives to achieve it. With age dreams of the world's majority mean to decide on your own what you want to do for a living when you become older. Women seek for a good marriage, healthy children and to become respectable and desirable wife. Men aim to be respected among his entourage, to have a career and to provide monetary for his family. However, the play "Death of a Salesman" written by Arthur Miller, which tells a deeply moving story of one American man fighting for his dignity, reveals the concept of the "American dream." The audience can observe Miller's cynical definition of the "American dream" through the characters of Willy, Ben and Biff having different views and experiences in their lives.
The protagonist of the play Willy Loman is unsuccessful salesman whose "American Dream" defined as the capability to become respected and prosperous by charisma. Willy concerned that temperament, not effort, is enough to do well in business. His only goal is to become the best and famous in the salesman environment. However, admitting that his aim is quite limitless, his imagination is still larger than his skills of sailing. The example is when Willy, relying on his charm, asks his boss for a raise, ends with losing his job at all. Thus, it is evident that author accuses the following of the "American dream" of the possibility to ruin a person's expectations of becoming successful. Furthermore, he ruins lives of his sons by imposing on them his view of achieving the success. His wrong perception of the reality, do not let him to educate Biff and Happy properly. Willy pays more attention to his boys' popularity at college, rather than to their academic progress. For instance, Willy wondered about the reaction of the classmates when Biff explained how he crossed his eyes, and talked with a lithp during the lesson in order to make fun of the teacher. The following answer: "They nearly died laughing!" seems to satisfy Willy. However, as a father he should have made an observation over the Biff's unethical behavior.
Willy's older brother Ben is the only one in the play, who represents the idealistic view of prosperity. He is the lucky achiever of the "American Dream", which defines as the ability to make a fortune from nothing: "William, when I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty-one. And, by God, I was rich!" (p. 1577). Ben earned his wealth without the help of a job or education, what makes Will doubt the effectiveness of his hard work. Willy is continuously misled and envious of Ben's success and strategy. However, to Willy's wife Linda, Ben represents wildness. It is shown by the sparring match of Biff with his nephew. When Biff starts to win, his uncle immediately trips the boy and then stands in front of him with the umbrella pointing at Biff's eye. Such actions prove that Ben is a ruthless and wild man. Therefore, it is easy to assume that people possessing such features are most likely to grab the luck and win their way under all conditions.
The most interesting character of this play is Biff, because throughout the play, Biff faces two different dreams and has a potential to pursue the "right" one. His one dream is based on the father's perception of the world of sales, business, and popularity: "And that's why when you get out on that field today it's important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you. And Ben! When he walks into a business office his name will sound out like a bell and all the doors will open to him! I've seen it, Ben, I've seen it a thousand times! You can't feel it with your hand like timber, but it's there!" (p. 1594). However, another dream can be felt with hands, because he wants to work on a ranch and have a contact with nature. Unfortunately, the dream imposed on Biff by Willy, rises the angst to choose his own way: "There's nothing more inspiring or - beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it's cool there now, see? Texas is cool now, and it's spring. And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I'm not getting' anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I'm thirty-four years old. I oughta be makin' my future. That's when I come running home." (p.1562). However, only at the end of the play Biff starts to realize that father's dream is the wrong one. Also, it happens due to the event happened in Boston, where Biff discovers father's infidelity. Biff decides that he does not want to repeat the fate of the father. Biff views Willy as pursuing an empty life by selling unknown products and watching his own failure, instead of living at the countryside and having a calm life. He made the right choice of avoiding the "American dream" of his father.
To sum up, there is a quote by Douglas Everett: "There are some people, who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." This quotation confirms the idea of the "Death of a Salesman", that people are different and so are their abilities, views and dreams.