Comparing Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller And Fences By August Wilson

1548 words - 6 pages

Fences written by August Wilson and Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller are two plays that could be considered very different in terms of their plot. The plots of both plays contain two very different cultural backgrounds which affects each protagonist differently. If the reader or audience looks past the plot into the theme and symbolisms used they can see that the plays are more similar than they are different. In spite of the different cultural backgrounds of each protagonist they both are tragic heroes that are trying to achieve the American dream as it relates to each character; both of which fail in drastic yet similar ways. The American dream has always been an important factor in many American’s lives as it is to Troy Maxson the protagonists of Fences and to Willy Loman the protagonist of Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman and Troy Maxson are both hardworking men of different cultural backgrounds, with striking similarities in the way they try to achieve and fail to achieve the American dream of their era and die in the end without earning the respect they both feel they should have.
The protagonist of the play Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman and protagonist of the play Fences, Troy Maxson are similar in the way both men are chasing after an American Dream. Willy Loman is an insecure self-deluded salesman who believes that “to be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the American Dream” (Corruption of the "American Dream" In Death of A Salesman 124). Willy Loman also believes wholeheartedly in his misguided notion that the key to success is being “well liked” and making money (Miller 1920). What Willy Loman does not factor into his ideology of how to achieve the American dream is the value placed on his hard work and devotion by his employer and clients is not what he has expected. Willy Loman tries desperately to pass on his misguided idea of what the key to success is to his two sons, Biff and Happy. He focuses mainly on Biff who he believes has what it takes to be a successful sales man telling him "...I'll show you all the towns...And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England...I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own" (Miller 1919). Much like Willy Loman, Troy Maxson also chased after an American dream. Troy Maxson is an older Aferican-American who chased after the American dream of becoming a Major League baseball player; unfortunately before he was ever recruited he had lost his athletic abilities. Troy Maxson still holds bitterness against white people because he feels as if he was passed over because of segregation and discrimination instead of how good his ability to still play was. The emotions involved with being passed over because of discrimination left Troy Maxson angry which he often displayed towards his family. Troy Maxson’s “point of view about things drastically affects those around him” (Armstrong). Troy Maxson had...

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