Meaning of Life and American Dream Essay

Submitted By leomerced
Words: 1564
Pages: 7

Blinded from Reality: A Lost Hope in Death of a Salesman
"Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein states that reality is nothing but an illusion and one can agree that this is because reality is subject to interpretation. Every individual in this world interprets the world in his or hers own distinct way. One person’s interpretation may be positive and lead them to live a happy, successful life while others’ perspectives on the world may result in a life of mere misfortune. Unfortunately, when misconception shapes one’s reality, it may blind him or her from what life is truly about and the actions he or she must take in order to live a happy life. Certain individuals may be subjected to misery when blinded by his or hers own irrational beliefs. As a result, he or she may struggle to see the true identities of themselves and others as well as live a life of false hope. Willy Loman lacks the ability to distinguish between his own personal hopes and an unfortunate reality in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, where he misinterprets Biff’s potential to be successful, his perspective on himself as a successful salesman, as well as the promised material comforts of the American Dream.
Willy misconceives Biff’s potential to be successful, where he fails to realize that Biff is nothing but an average being who has lived a majority of his life in disappointment and failure. Biff defines success as achieving what you desire through being true to yourself and he reveals that he can no longer lie to live up to his father’s expectations when he exclaims, “Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I wants is out there, waiting for the minute I say I know who I am!” (Miller 132) Therefore, Biff presents an insufferable reality to his father, where he implies that he would rather be on a ranch raising horses and cattle than doing something he takes no particular interest in; living up to his father’s expectations and being a successful businessman. Similarly, Cardulo asserts that “by portraying Willy’s struggle to accept the falsehood of the American dream and his failure to realize that Biff does not wish to pursue this dream, Miller does not only emphasize the flaws of material wealth, but also that each person measures success differently.” (Cardulo) Likewise to Miller, Cardulo insists that Willy and Biff view success differently and that the American Dream idea Willy places on Biff is not something Biff wants to pursue. In addition, Biff tries to convince his father that he is not the successful person he wants him to be, when he comments:
‘I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy! I tried seven states and couldn’t raise it. A buck an hour! Do you gather any meaning? I’m not bringing home any prizes any more, and you’re going to stop waiting for me to bring them home!’ (Miller 132)
Biff attempts to convince Willy that he has lived his life in failure, thus presenting a troubling reality to his father that he could never comprehend. Furthermore, Willy states that Biff is “a young man with such personal attractiveness and such a hard worker” (Miller 15). Yet, Biff has been looked down upon for most of his life and has not worked himself into a fine-paying job. Willy’s statement therefore reveals his hopeless expectations for his son, where he fails to realize that Biff is the opposite of being hard-working and personally attractive. In conclusion, Willy fails to understand that Biff is merely just an unsuccessful person and has lived almost half of his life in disappointment.
Willy evaluates himself as a successful salesman but in reality, he is just an ordinary person who struggles to earn money and provide for his family. Biff indicates that his father