Themes In Death Of A Salesman
Essay Preview: Themes In Death Of A Salesman
Report this essay
Throughout the ages the concepts of dreams have been explored. Dreams have not necessarily contained the same substances but gradually changed according to the environment, beliefs, and social understandings. When America first originated, the dream of religion was brought from Europe. Puritans were the first landowning Americans to come and live in North America (Indians were the original owners). Puritans came to America to escape religious persecution; they dreamed to have religious, economic, and social freedoms. During the colonial era people were known to be pure and no evil was ever seen, heard, or said about. It was a community of peaceful ways and religious aspects. Puritans began accomplishing these dreams but the same mistakes (killing innocent people) were being committed, this occurrence was due to superstition (Benet, 1937). Since superstition became such a factor of their every day life, other people commenced to a new a way of life. Thus, the Gothic era was born; all of the beauty that was contained in colonial era was washed away with the darkness of reality. The goal of gothic was to unravel the truth and express how evil the world was. The thing was that gothic did not want to make everything crystal clear but mysterious. Literature during this age was filled with allegories so that people could figure out the true meaning of gothic. Once this concept was overrated and perplexing people started to express themselves without all of the obscurity. This new era was known as realism, its objective was to show the truth without all of the allegories. Realism also showed the concept of war and how the human race was at the mercy of the environment. Individuals were no longer the protagonist of life but the environment was. People yearned to live and did all they could just to survive. Men were often occupied in the front line fighting for their country while women worked at home. Women became more liberal and objected to the old puritan ways. They no longer served their husbands but explored a new world of excitement; this new era became known as Modernism. The community believed in having fun all day and all night; insofar as people needed more money to obtain all of the desired riches. People began to build up a new dream that consisted of ideas such as wealth, power, and social status. This dream was not for all American citizens but just the middle and upper class white (male) American. As time transcended the dream started to revolutionize into a worldwide dream that could be accomplished by all Americans regardless of color and gender. This new genre was known as Post-Modernism which still continues today in America. The dream occupied the basis of family (as the primer key), wealth, marriage, and education. Post-modernism also believes that one must look at the past in order to save the future. This is the same situation that occurs in Millers Death of a Salesman (1949). In this play we see Willy continually trying to relive the past because those were the days when he was popular and in charge. He ambitiously wants his son, Bif to follow in his footsteps and succeed in the world of business. Bif does not want to full fill Willys lost dream and repeatedly causes pain in Willys heart. Bif feels that there is no need to live a life like his fathers. He sees the anguish that his father suffers now that he is old and useless; and notices that no one even remembers his hard effort.
The American dream is continually worked hard for but when it does not benefit the family then what is it good for? It post-modernism we see that the dream is not restricted amongst certain groups but it is universally explored. The dream is based on variables such as race, gender, social class, economics, and political interests. The dream was drastically changed and it opened its doors to a public of different races and genders. Women were now able to succeed and become part of a mans world. Women like Beneatha (who happens to be both from a different culture and gender) started to set her own dream by studying in a University and becoming more liberal (Hansberry, 1959). In Raisin in the Sun a rich African American was also introduced, George Murchison who occupied all of the variables of this redefined dream (Hansberry, 1959). Murchison was studying in a University and working towards an enriching profession. He had class and a very good education. This story was a perfect illustration on the uplifts of the African American trying to approach the new redefined dream. Economically people began to leave the depression and began to work in order to survive. Society did not spend their money the way they did back in the 1920s but started saving in fear that another depression would come. Many people were interested in political issues because they too feared an economic down fall. People changed their way of lifes as well as the American Dream.
Post-modernism also provided a different life style that was depicted in many literature plays. Most authors convey the fact of how the past tends to haunt the present. In the post-modernism we see how the parents seem to loose their minds in the past because they feel that they werent able to accomplish something when they were young. This affects the children, insofar as the parents are often trying to force the kids to finish their dreams; thus they believe that that is the only way for them to be happy and secure. In Death of a Salesman (1949) Willy Loman is seen struggling with the past and the present. Willy no longer wants to accept what is happening in the present so he visualizes the happy stories that occurred in the past (Miller, 1949). Willy reiterates the past and sees how he believed he was going to have wealth and power. Willys dream is to succed in the world of