Book Report on Arthur Miller

This essay has a total of 988 words and 4 pages.

Arthur Miller

An Analysis of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and The Price When people accept an
ideal to live by it can be a glorious and noble thing unless they become so obsessed wi
the the ideal that it becomes a yolk and they are unable to realize their dream.. This is
especially true for two characters in Arthur Miller's plays Death of a Salesman and The
Price. In these two plays Miller portays two lower-middle class men , Willie Loman and
Victor Franz, respectivelly, who each live by an ideal that ultimately is self-defeating.
Willie lived to pursue the American dream rather than living the American dream and Victor
lived to serve and be decent rather than living a noble and decent life. They pursed their
ideal rather than living it and thus they are unable to succeed. Willie Loman, in Death of
a Salesman,, has lived his life in pursuit of the American dream. Traditionally the
American dream meant oppurtunity and freedom for all, and Willie believed that. However,
hard work could not earn him everything that he wanted or thoght he deserved. Willy judged
himsel and those arround him by theit material accumulation, as is demanded by capitalism
and the protestant work ethic. The ethic demands accumulation and work as signs of favor
in the eyes of god. Thus in order to please god and himself he had to accumulate wealth
and objects. The consumer oriented society in which Willy lives will not allow him to live
the American Dream. Willy is fascinated by accumulating things. His desire fior goods
makes him want objects that he neither needed nor could afford. Willy thinks that he needs
to buy his wife a new refrigerator and new stockings even though she is content with what
they have. As he tries to live the American dream he venerates those who have been
successful at doing so, l ike Thomas Edison, B.F. Goodrich, and Ben, his succesful
brother. Furetheremore he punished those who did not work towards that ideal or accomplish
it ,such as Biff, his son, and most importantly himself. The extreme to which he followed
the dream brought him to disallusionment and lose sense of reality. Willy created a
reality for himself where he "knocked 'em cold in Providence," and "slaughtered 'em in
Boston."(p.33) The ultimate result of his disallusionment is his suicide. It is ironic
that he dies for his ideals although they are misconstrued. The problem with Willy's
ideals which ultimately kills him is that he has lost sight of achieving the true goal of
the American Dream, happiness and freedom, and the dream took control of him. He struggled
to achieve something that he could not; he did not have the talent to be a salesman. He
became so obsessed with living the dream that he was unable to be content with his talents
in carpentry and with his family. There is also a manner in which he pusues the Dream. He
is a salesman, a profession that is associated with trickery and illusion. He could not
pusue a noble dream by doing something that is based in deceit. His quest was cursed from
the start and the fact that he lived the quest and not the dream made it worse. Similarly
in Miller's The Price the main character is a man who tries to life for an ideal and not
the ideal . In The Price Victor becomes so obsessed with sacrificing for others that he
ultimately fails to please himself . By not achieving for himself he hurts those he is
trying to help, his family. Victor devoted his life to serving others at an early age.
When he was younger he went to the police academy, a profession that is marked by self-
sacrifice for others. Furtheremore he put his brother through medical school even though
Victor had more potential in the field. While his brother Walter was in school Victor
cared for their aging father at a great expense to Victor econimically and emotionally.
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