Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man trying and failing to obtain success for him and his family. Willy Loman, a traveling salesman, has been trying to ‘make it big’ for the majority of his life. Miller’s play explores the themes of abandonment and betrayal and their effects on life’s success. Willy sees himself as being abandoned by his older brother, Ben, and constantly views his sibling’s betrayal as one that changed his prospects forever. Willy, in turn, is guilty of a different type of abandonment and betrayal of his sons, especially Biff.
Dana Gioia and X.J. Kennedy.10th Ed. New York: Pearson, 2007. Murray, Edward. “The Thematic Structure in Death of a Salesman.” Readings on Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman.
Reinhardt, Karl. “Oedipus Tyrannus: Appearance and Truth.” 20th Centruy Interpretations of Oedipus Rex. Ed. Micheal O'Brien. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968.
The Loman family created dreams and illusions that were far better than their reality. In Death of a Salesman, these dreams overwhelm the two characters Willy, the father, and Biff, his favorite son, but the stark reality of life eventually overcomes these illusions and forces them to face the truth. As Willy and Biff are forced to realize that they have been living in a dream world, this disillusionment becomes a prevalent theme of the play, pointing out how illusions can only hide so much for so long before the truth is unveiled. Wilson explains that The Loman family has such exaggerated, grotesque fictions about each other that the truth is bitterly weak in contrast (Wilson 80). Their illusion are so grand and so full of fantasy that when reality is discovered, they are shocked, devastated.
Through his death, Willy thinks he can achieve success and fulfill his dream. Arthur Miller provides us with a character who is both pathetic and tragic. Willy Loman spent his life chasing a false dream. His failure to live the "true" American Dream was what brought about his own downfall. ** Short Essay Two In Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman’s warped view of the American Dream caused tragedy in his family because he stressed the importance of popularity over hard work and risk-taking over perserverence.
His fears master him, creating in him a fantasy world of life as it was eighteen years ago. Willy’s avoidance of reality and his suicide show his cowardice. However, the emphasis he puts on financial success prevents him from realizing the consequences that his suicide would create. Willy’s refusal to face reality and accept responsibility shows that he is a coward. According to Gordon Hitchens, Willy "broke the first commandment of American business .
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is about a traveling salesman named Willy Loman who has hit a rough patch in his life. Willy seems to have a normal family, with a wife and two boys. His sons, Happy and Biff, while different, represent Willy in many ways. Willy always strived to be successful and struggled for acceptance, which also represents his sons personalities and outlooks. As Pamela Loos says, “Willy Loman fails to understand himself and esteems a career path that goes against who he truly is,” this keeps him from ever being happy with himself.
The drama focuses on the life of a middle aged salesman, Willy Lowman, who, at the outset of the play is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He lives with his adoring but over protective wife, Linda, who acts as a buffer between her husband and their two adult sons, Biff and Happy, whose relationship with their father is permanently under tension. The play plots the tragic collapse of a man who cannot face up to his moral responsibilities in a society whose false values attach a dangerous importance to success as measured in such transient terms as income and material possessions. Living according to these values means that failure is likewise defined in economic terms. The play's setting contributes to our understanding of the significance of this theme.
Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller concerns itself with the fall of a simple man perpetually in a steadfast state regarding his own failure in a success-driven society. The protagonist of the play, Willy Loman, will follow a tragic trajectory that will eventually lead to his suicide. Arthur Miller's tragic play is an accurate portrayal of the typical American myth that sustains an extreme craving for success and a belief in the illusion of the American dream, a dream attainable only by a handful of people. Having chosen a career in sales Willy Loman constantly aspires to become 'great'. Nevertheless, Willy is a poor aging salesman that considers himself to be a failure when comparing himself to his successful father and brother, but he is incapable of consciously admitting it.
In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the conflicts that formulate between Biff and Willy Loman build up to the death of Willy. Biff’s delusional perception of being liked in the world leads to a successful life which was an idea brought onto him by his father, Biff’s discovery of his father's affair, and Biff’s lack of business success all accumulate to the heavy conflicting relationship between Biff and his father, Willy. These contribute immensely to the idea that personal dreams and desire to reach success in life can negatively impact life with personal relationships, which causes people to lose sight of what is important. This ultimately leads to the Willy committing suicide from the build up of problems with his son. During the