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Essay about Willy Loman as a Father in Arthur Miller's A Death of a Salesman

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Willy Loman as a Father in Arthur Miller's A Death of a Salesman

Modern society would condemn the parenting skills of Willy Loman, the
father in Arthur Miller’s A Death of a Salesman, who imposes his
dreams upon his two sons and preaches the value of popularity over
integrity.

As an unsuccessful salesman, Willy is unable to cope with his own
shortcomings and valiantly attempts to find something to be hopeful
for, and he finds this opportunity in his son Biff. Frail and well
past his prime, Willy feels that he is incapable of ever getting back
on his feet, and so he believes Biff has a better chance at success.
However, Willy steps over the boundary, and he develops into a father
attempting to control his own son’s life. In one instance, Biff comes
home to recollect, and Willy vows, “I’ll see him in the morning. I’ll
have a nice talk with him. I’ll get him a job selling. He could be
big in no time” (6). These expectations, though, are contrary to
Biff’s desires and dreams, since he aspires to work in the outdoors.
For Biff, the job of becoming a salesman entails one “to suffer fifty
weeks of the years for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you
really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off” (11). Thus the
difference in desire between father and son leads to conflict,
especially because Willy is stubborn and unwilling to yield to his
son’s ingenuous ideas. Biff is first to realize that his own passions
are not synonymous to his dad’s, and in a heated confrontation prior
to Willy’s death, Biff shouts, “What am I trying to become what I
don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a
contemptuous, be...


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turns any conversation he has into a flaring altercation. By being
hotheaded, Willy does not show a model example for his sons; the
virtues of patience and understanding disappear when Willy shows his
anger vehemently. Thus any communication and emotional connections are
weak between Willy and his sons, suppressing any outgrowth of
compassion and understanding among them.

Although the mother in a family provides a nurturing and gentle force,
it is only the father who can set the standards and discipline for
future progeny. Corruption of this figure can lead a household to
shambles, something that Willy Loman accomplishes with his own
family. By impressing his own ambitions onto his sons and preaching a
skewed perspective of success, Willy would be condemned for his
atrocious fathering skills in today’s age.


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