Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby- Belief in the illusion of the American dream leads to death.
Both authors Arthur Miller in a play “Death of a Salesman” and Scott Fitzgerald in a novel “The Great Gatsby” reveals the tragedy of American society embraced by the idea of the American Dream. Miller’s protagonist Willy Loman represent worker class, who is common salesman, and Fitzgerald’s protagonist Gatsby represent the so-called new rich. The lives of Willy and Gatsby perfectly reflect each other and are two good examples of the embodiment of the illusion of the American dream. Both characters in pursuit of money and power tried to achieve transparent and not very clear goals, not seeing their unattainability. Because of Willy and Gatsby’s unrealistic faith in the American dream, their tragic flaws become a result in their downfall, and ultimate tragic death.
The idea of the success and prosperity of Willy and Gatsby is their tragic flaw, because in pursuit of him they lose track of their success, confusing it with greed.
Willy think about wealth instead of happiness. His son Biff said: “He had all the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.”(Miller 138) According to article: ” In his mind, Willy Loman , sees himself as a successful salesman but this imagination of success is not compatible with his reality.”(-4) Loman was naturally a narcissist, with numerous desires, ideas and dreams. The engine of his life was the desire to get rich and become successful. He wanted to have a comfortable car, a house, successful children. Even if he cheated on his wife, he felt guilty and felt that not so well provides a family. Therefore, he tried even harder to succeed. His dream of being successful and rich imprisoned him in a circle where everything revolves around ” the-one-million-dollar idea” (Miller 50) But Willy Loman does not even have the comfort of wealth to comfort his happiness. Although he initially continues his charade of financial accomplishment, he ends up admitting that he is not well-liked or admired, but merely overlooked.
He attempt to gain immortality buy acting as if he is so wealthy he is immune to death , while desperately attempting to actually gain this success but never quite succeeding.
Gatsby looking for happiness in his life, in the form of a lost love. He has a part of American Dream , he has wealth. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It elude us then, but that’s no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther…”(Fitzgerald ) According to article:”Its greenness become Daisy’s green light; not the fecund green of the forest but the green of machines and the money which buys them. “( 793) He reinvents himself, creating a new identity and going to any lengths to earn money and get the right possessions. He does these things in order to win Daisy, but Daisy represents nothing more to him that final acquisition to make his dream for himself realized. Getting Daisy will give him access to the kind of life he has always wanted, the life obsessed by the idea of the American Dream, and despite all his wealth , he cannot truly be a part of this life until he has Daisy. Thus, Gatsby’s life was based on gaining enough money and success to be considered more than just ordinary person.
Both protagonists Gatsby and Willy in pursuit of the realization of their American Dream , it is idle to try to avoid or deny human mortality, because death catches up to us all.