Death Of A Salesman

Arthur Miller

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Willy’s search for humanity within his profit-driven job

In the movie The Pursuit of Happiness, Will Smith's roll draws parallels to Willy Loman. Will Smith is looking to provide for his son in a very "humane" way, by climbing up the ladder of business. Willy is looking for the humanity as he asks Howard where the respect went in the buiness world upon his firing."There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it. Today, it's all cut and dried, there's no chance for bringing friendship to bear - or personality" (61).

Being Well liked in society

Today’s society it is so easy to become overwhelmed with the want for being “well liked”. With Social Media alone, people strive to get the most likes and the most followers to prove to themselves that they have friends and people that care for them. However the saddening fact is that social media can also distance us from each other. By people over emphasizing the importance of being popular on social media they lose sight of the more important things in their life, such as actual human connection. In the play Death of a Salesman, Willy loman is consumed with the corrupt thought that the only way to succeed is being well liked, but in reality he oversees the necessary attribute he is lacking is hard work and determination. “WILLY: That’s just what I mean, Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want....”(20-21) This quote accurately describes Willy’s mentality throughout the play. He thoroughly believes that the only way you can get by in life is being well liked by others. However, Willy fails to incorporate the necessary factors to become successful. Just like those who are obsessed with the need for followers and likes on social media, Willy needs to come to a realization that being well liked is not a necessary factor to become successful or find true happiness.


Material Wealth

Our society has developed this obsession with economic superiority to the point that it often alters the mindset of our youth. Every year new technology comes out and causes the people to suddenly be dissatisfied with what they have and want what they don’t. This generality is illustrated with Biff’s mindset towards his success and employment: “Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.”(105) This quotation highlights the contention that the American people are never satisfied with what they have and are restless in searching for something better. This is a paradox deeply ingrained into American society: the misconception that happiness is only obtainable with a sense of security which in this case would be material wealth.

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Dream of success

Everyone has their own interpretation of what success looks like. For example, Willy in Death of a Salesman believes that his success will be measured on how successful he is in the business world: “Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more"(18). Willy had hopes and aspirations just like any other American, however his dreams were never achieved due to his own misinterpretation of success. This is a paradox ingrained in American society where people are obsessed with the thought of obtaining true “success,” but are not willing to put in the work it requires.