Synthesis Essay: Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby After reading Arthur Miller’s Deah of a Salesman and watching the movie of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s well known novel The Great Gatsby, the two works clearly demonstrate the lengths that people go to in order to achieve the American Dream, the stereotypical life of a rich, successful and happy American. Both Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman are blinded by the pursuit of their unrealistic dreams which eventually lead to their downfalls.
In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is an aged man who no longer makes an adequate living for his family. Committed to the American Dream, Willy believes that he will be able to make money due to his selling ability and “contacts”. He would come home to his family and brags about the sales he has made, in reality though, no business is willing to offer him a job. He also has a troubled relationship with his family, especially his sons Biff and Happy, both of whom are jobless and unsuccessful.
Willy gradually loses his mind throughout the story, hallucinating, seeing deceased friends and family in his imagination. He become depressed and mentally ill, eventually losing his ability to work. Willy attempts to commit suicide due to the fact that his uneasy relationships with friends, family, and business partners drove him insane and suicidal.
Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby is a popular millionaire in New York, yet no one knows how he comes about his wealth. Truthfully, Gatsby is a criminal– bootlegging alcohol and making an impressive fortune through illegal means. Although unlike Willy Loman, Gatsby has managed to obtain wealth, his actual dream is to gain the attention of his past love, Daisy Buchanan. It is due to his love for Daisy that he is blinded from his honest pursuit of riches and is lead down a path of underground crime. He believes that by becoming wealthy, buying an extravagant home and throwing lavish parties, Daisy would eventually leave her husband, Tom, and come to him. Unfortunately, his dream is unrealistic. Gatsby’s love for Daisy also forces him to take the blame for the death of Myrtle Wilson. In the end, Gatsby is tragically killed.
The two men desire wealth for different purposes, where Gatsby seeks the woman of his dreams, whereas Willy looks for the wellness of his family.
Nevertheless, the fact that they both desire something so deeply indirectly killed them both.