Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in literary work. One of the principal themes in this literary work is the pursuit of the American Dream.
This concept is well connected to Willy Loman, an exhausted 63-year-old man who wants nothing more than to reach the American Dream, but in reality he fails because by thinking that he will never need to search for anything; it would come to him. At the end he is no longer a good salesman, he does not earn enough money, he does not manage to communicate with his family, his sons’ lives are a disappointment to him and he disrespects his own family by being unfaithful to his wife.
This desire for a better life starts at the beginning of the play, the first example can be found on page 32 when he (Willy Loman) expresses his jealousy towards the successes of his brother Ben. Ben knew what he wanted, Willy says. He started with the clothes on his back, walked into the jungle and came out enormously rich at the age of twenty-one owning several diamond mines. Willy continues: “That man was a genius, that man was success incarnate!” (32).
But Willy does not ever understand his search until the end of the play. “What-what’s the secret?” Willy asks Bernard this question, which shows he is still searching for the key to the American Dream. Willy Loman, in his naive world between determined hope and painful awareness, represents a parody of the American Dream.