The motif of popularity first illustrates Willy’s idea of success. Willy is inspired by Dave Singleman to become a salesman. He believed that, “was the greatest career a man could want” because, “what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four...and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people.” (Miller, page 54-55). This quote highlights what Willy believes is important. He becomes a salesman to attempt attaining Singleman’s status of being popular, well-liked, and significant to many people. However, Willy’s approach has flaws. In the past, when Bernard warns Willy that Biff will fail math, Linda also agrees. However, Willy argues, “There’s nothing the matter with him!... He’s got spirit, personality…” (page 24) Willy does not care if Biff fails math. He claims that because Biff is popular and has “spirit” and “personality” Biff will be successful, even without academic achievement. ...
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...resent. Willy states that, “They [Manafacturers] time them so when you finally paid for them, they’re used up.” (page 48) This is analogous to Willy’s own life: he works very hard at being a salesman but when he is finally finished (paid for), he is unusable.
Through the motifs of Willy’s contradiction and emphasis on popularity, and things that are worn-out, Willy’s ambition to achieve his unsuitable dream has led him to suffer. While suffering, Willy still refuses to believe he is suffering, and still believes his idyllic dream is achievable. His refusal to let go of his dream and his need to prove his success eventually leads to his death, as he believes death will solve his problems. Miller, through his thought provoking novel Death of a Salesman, reminds the audience to continuously self-reflect and adapt to the ever-changing human society.
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