Dreams can give opportunity for a better life but can also be destructive. They can be partly successful shown through the character Marlene but can have devastating consequences for characters in both plays, especially in Death of a Salesman through the characters Willy and Biff.
In the two plays, Willy and Marlene both dream of being successful in business but however, have a different perception of how to achieve this dream. Miller’s Death of a Salesman focuses on the American Dream, or at least Willy Loman’s version of it. Many people believe in The American Dream and its role in shaping peoples success. Willy had the wrong perspective of this dream, and believed the key to success was to be “well-liked” which would then open doors to business and success. He also thought, business men were risk-takers and adventurers like his uncle Ben. Willy is envious of Ben's success in the business world, “William, when I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty-one. And, by God, I was rich!” - Ben's American Dream is the ability to start with nothing and somehow make a fortune.
Marlene on the other hand, doesn't care if she's “well-liked” and becomes successful independently. This happened through the system of which was happening around that time, ‘Capitalism.’ This is a system of free enterprise. This means that the government doesn’t interfere in the economy and everyone earns their own money. This system was put into power by Margaret Thatcher in the early 80s. Marlene was Capitalist and was encouraged by Thatcher and worked hard for her own money and lifestyle. She is richer than her sister due to the system, as she was a Socialist. Also, the audience is presented with two different female role models; Marlene and Joyce. Marlene could be seen as a feminist role model – fighting against her female stereotype, and fighting for equality in the workplace where as Joyce is exactly the opposite, giving into the female stereotype of “mother”.
At the same time both characters had to make sacrifices to their lifestyle in order to gain this dream of success. However, all of Marlene's hard work meant giving up her own child and family in order to pursue her success, leaving Angie in the hands of Joyce. This un-ables Joyce to pursue her dreams as she’s trapped in the entanglement Marlene put her in. A woman's American Dream is to have a full family, however this prevented Joyce from pursuing this - “i did get pregnant and i lost it because i was looking after your fucking baby.” Joyce and Linda are somewhat similar, as they both may dream of having a full family. Linda also wants to keep Willy happy. So, she therefore follows Willy’s dream - “She more than loves him, she admires him, as though his... massive dreams and little cruelties, served her as only sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him” but she ”lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end.” This dream of keeping Willy satisfied meant sacrificing the idea of a complete family, as she gives Biff and Happy an ultimatum; keep Willy happy, or they wouldn’t be welcome anymore.
Willy does everything for his family but the entrapment of his illusional dream was beginning to tear his family apart because of the failure to reach his American dream, he begins to live this dream through his sons, Happy and Biff. Willy dreams of making them successful business men, as he says “Thats just the way i’m bringing them up, Ben - rugged, well-liked, all-around.” However, its because of this dysfunctional relationship thats begins to ruin the Loman family.
Biff clashes with Willy as they both dream differently. Biff dreams of having a life in the…