Death of a salesman summary

Essay Topic:

A profound summary of Arthur Millers Death of a salesman

Essay Questions:

Why does the old salesman come to the realization that his life was a failure?

What is the true reasons of Biffs disillusionment?

Why does committing a suicide results the only way Willy can help his family with?

Thesis Statement:

Arthur Millers Death of a salesman is a very complex play that reveals the loss of the American Dream and life disillusionment.


Introduction: Arthur Miller’s “Death of a salesman” describes the life of a sixty-year-old salesman who has not really achieved anything in his life personally nor has gained financial prosperity for his family. He lives a life which he considers to be the American Dream but his internal conflict and the contradiction leads to his realization of being a failure.

As Willy Loman come back home from an unsuccessful sales trip he feel very tired and exhausted by this job. He realizes that it has become very hard for him to travel all the time and at his age he should have more rest and have a less problematic job. Willy seems to life in two different realities. In the first reality Willy is an old unsuccessful salesman who fails to provide his family and the second reality Willy is still young, promising and his options are still open not only for him but also for his sons Biff and Happy. In his visions Willy often sees his brother Ben who left home at the age of seventeen and before he turned twenty he already earned a fortune in Africa. Ben is like a living American dream for Willy. He wants his sons Biff and Happy to be as successful as Ben. Biff seems to be Willy’s disappointment as being the high school football star and a very intelligent boy one day he just relented and lost inspiration. Willy does not even understand that he is the one to blame in this situation, that it was Willy’s secret life that caused Biff’s disillusionment.  Willy was Biffs ideal as he wanted to be like him and adored him with all his heart. Biff’s trust in undermined with the revelation of the father’s infidelity and he gives up on everything.

The situation in the play get very complicated and when eventually Willy is fired and Biff reveals him the truth about his life Willy understands what has happened in his life and what a failure he is. It is the moment when he decides to do something worthy for the family – to commit suicide so they would get the money for living from the insurance. Finally, Willy can be worth of respect in Biff’s eyes.

Conclusion: This is a play about a little man who wanted to achieve something in his life and got lost on the way to his dream. The only good news is that Biff seems to be the one who can make it and achieve something worthy in his life and thinking that being “likable” is the most important thing in the world. With the help of the revelation of Willy’s tragedy Arthur Miller reveals the loss of the American Dream and life disillusionment.


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