Narcissism and the American Dream in Arthur Miller´s Death of a Salesman

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur

Author: Fredrik Artan; [2014]

Keywords: Death of a salesman;


This essay focuses on the theme of the American Dream in relation to narcissism in Miller’s Death of a salesman. The purpose is to demonstrate that a close reading of the main protagonist, Willy Loman, suggests that his notion of success in relation to the American Dream can be regarded as narcissistic.  This essay will examine this by first observing how Willy´s notion of success is represented in the play, then look at how his understanding of it can be viewed from a narcissistic standpoint.  The results I have found in my analysis show that there is a connection between Willy’s understanding of success and his narcissistic behavior. He displays traits such as grandiosity, arrogance, need of specialness and denial of emotions. His relationship with other characters reveals his lack of empathy, manipulation and exploitation of others as well as his need of superiority and fear of inferiority.  The conclusion is that Willy and his notion of success could be considered as narcissistic.                 

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