International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 275

Full Length Research Paper

Capitalism versus narcissism: Death of a salesman's psychoanalytic critique

Nurul Anwar
  • Nurul Anwar
  • Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology, Bangladesh.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 04 September 2018
  •  Published: 30 September 2018


Arthur Miller's, Death of a Salesman seems to have lost some ground to its once established position as many critics of late downplayed the demise of its protagonist Willy Loman by inscribing the causes of his death on 'narcissism' and excessive self-importance other than delving into the deeper causes behind his tormented and isolated private life. However, the author argues that Willy's life gets systematically shattered and crippled by his careless and cruel society fuelled by 'capitalist ideology' underlying the so called American dream. His death is extremely significant and current as present day self-harm and suicide rates unfailingly reverberate with the tragic demise of Willy. Though Willy's obsession with success, in disguise, puzzles the critics as conceited hubris his refusal of Charley's job offer strongly testifies to the unceasing resentment he holds towards capitalist workers. This paper rejects 'narcissism' as to be the major cause of his self-committed suicide and rightly points the self-termination, caused by the life-circumstances, to 'capitalist American dream'. Finally, it validates the transformation of his vengeance into his self-destruction that still reverberates with self-harm and self-destruction committed by men and women today.


Key words: Narcissism, capitalism, American dream, self- committed suicides, psychopathy.