Reader Responses; Death of a Salesman In this response, the play that I choose to write on is from the Great American Drama by Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. The analysis will focus on a theme and moral dimension to uncover the conflicts between ethical dream (American dream) and toxic positivity (morality alienation). From my perspective, writing in the tradition of 20th century realism, the author gives his social drama the dimensions of tragedy and this is an essential element of his play’s design and intent. One of the major themes within the play is the American Dream which the author criticizes the American materialism, and the self-delusion that people were afflicted with. This is essentially provided through the character of Willy Loman, whose failure was mainly because of his illusion and pursuit of perfection. Willy believes wholeheartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream—that a “well liked” and “personally attractive” man in business will indubitably and deservedly acquire the material comforts offered by modern American life. The major problem that I observed is that Willy seems to suffer from and makes him out of context in his life is his commitment to the idea that one can succeed in business by imposing his personal perspective without heeding other concerns. He puts this clearly as he says: “The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (Miller, 1949, 1.3.646-648). In other words, Willy still clings to the model of the traditional frontier salesman whose idea of success relied on leaving the house for a long time and coming back with a large amount of money, “riding on a smile and a shoeshine” (Requiem 38). From Willy Loman’s character development, there are some moral lessons that I can derive. One of the characteristics of Willy Loman is confident. As a person who works in the business world, optimism is one thing that helps him to reach the target, whereas his target is off course, to gain money and respect. For example, Willy strongly declares that he would go to Hartford and make money. Remembering that he feels ignored there, I see his optimism is too much if it compared with his last works where he did not make any money and the way he feels about people in Hartford, in other words, he is too optimist that he does not prepare himself toward failure, this same fault also happens when he fully supports Biff to meet Bill Oliver to borrow some money. The way Willy encourages Biff how to say the right words to Bill Oliver is one thing that reveals his optimism toward his son, he expects the best for Biff. This attitude reveals the positive side of his optimistic mind, he has the ability to inspire other people to get into business, but the negative side, and he puts his optimism beyond the unpredictable things where anything can happen. By saying “I think your troubles are over” (Miller, 1949, 1.8.891-822), shows that he always has a positive thinking that Biff is going to make the deal even though Biff has not met Bill Oliver yet. Living in the contemporary society with intensified competition, it is better for everybody to know ourselves, to keep pace with the rapid-developing society, pursuing what we really need, dedicated to our goals, rather perplexed with the so-called success. Hence, through analyzing Willy’s death, I could discover that his life revealed some social problems behind personal and family tragedy in current society, arousing our reflection on ethical and moral standards in a money-oriented society. And the most important thing is to know ourselves. References Death Of A Salesman: The Tragic Figure Willy Loman. (2020). Journal of Xidian University, 14(5). doi:10.37896/jxu14.5/609 Death of a Salesman. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/d/death-of-asalesman/about-death-of-a-salesman Mambrol, N. (2020, July 30). Analysis of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Retrieved from https://literariness.org/2020/07/30/analysis-of-arthur-millers-death-of-a-salesman/ Miller, A. H. (1949). Death of a salesman. Royal National Institute for the Blind.