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Critical Essay for English Individual Study The characters in the texts deal with a shallow concept of success Discuss in relation to Sam Mendes American Beauty and Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman There are only two tragedies in life one is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it Oscar Wilde While the American Dream is much more attainable for the average person in America today it still fails to fulfill and satisfy the deeper needs of a people trapped in a material culture The study of Sam Mendes American Beauty alongside Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman exposes various similarities inherent in the values possessed by the central protagonists of the texts Both Mendes and Miller explore the notion of the American Dream While Mendes presents it as a shallow and un-fulfilling goal Miller shows how such a dream in unattainable for the American Everyman in the late 1940s One can follow the progression of this Everyman from the post-depression era to America in the present and come to the realisation that following Freuds teachings what has been repressed of the individual has not been fulfilled Both Mendes and Miller explore a similar sense of success but in the comparison of the texts it is evident that the American Dream has left people empty and in denial of reality reflected in the characters Lester Burnham and Willy Loman The American Dream is shallow success It is a cycle of tragedy that has revolved in families and society for over fifty years Mendes examines success when there is a happy family a large house and a normal job American Beauty is an ambiguous title for a film that delves deeply into the ugliness of American suburbia Mendes presents beauty American beauty as success Angela is successful because she is beautiful Lester is successful because he is ordinary His wife Carol is successful because she has
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