Death of a Salesman, a play written in 1949, by Arthur Miller, has been Miller’s most famous work thanks to how relatable the play can be to almost every citizen in America. The play is told from the point of view of the principal character, Willy Loman. The play examines Willy’s perception of success, and the conflicts that his perception creates in his household. Having a wrong perception of likeness, lying, and cheating can lead to an individual to make decisions that can be irreversible and have many consequences. The family of Willy Loman is an example of how the life of each one of the members of the family can be defined by the mindsets of only one person.
Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman”, primarily focuses on the flaws and failures of Willy Loman, Millers’ main character in this story. Willy’s distorted and backward views of the American Dream, paired with his inability to let go of the past lead him down a road of regret and in the end his biggest failure which was his wasted life.
Willy strives to make money in this story but is largely unsuccessful. He is also very insecure so he turns to lies and his life spirals downward. Willy commits suicide in the end. Donald Smith states that Willy was, “still harboring misguided hopes about success for Biff. It seems Willy would rather kill himself than accept the fact that really, honestly, all his son wants is some shirtless sweaty time in Midwestern haystacks.” Which is why Willy committed suicide. Willy was also a kind of lost man with the wrong dreams. Biff even said after Willy’s suicide, “He had all the wrong dreams. All, all wrong….He never knew who he was.” Willy had the wrong dreams and didn’t know who he was which is also lead to his downfall.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”(Tucker p.56) This quote by Winston Churchill relates to Biff, Willy’s oldest son, and how he gave up on life once he found out the truth and reality about his dad. Upon finding his father cheating on his mother, Biff decides not to take the summer school math class which would have allowed him to graduate high school and go to the University of Virginia. Biff was raised by his father to believe that success and wealth in life were two of the most important goals to achieve. Upon finding the truth of his father’s life, Biff realized his father had neither of these qualities and felt he had lived a life based on falsehoods. Biff left his home to pursue the life of a rancher, which caused him to loose contact with his father. The ties between the two began to unravel even more. Willy’s inability to accept that his son knew the truth about him cheating on his wife only deepens the distortion of his life’s reality. When Biff finally returns home upon his mother’s request, he is unsympathetic about the failing of his father’s mental health, which further worsens the relationship. Biff is the only member of the family that knows the truth behind who his father really is and is the only one to accept the fact that his father is trying to commit suicide.
The dramatic play Death of a Salesman, composed by Arthur Miller in 1949 portrays the hours leading up to Willy Loman’s death. Willy is a sixty-year-old salesman living in Brooklyn New York with his wife Linda and after thirty-five years working as a traveling salesman he feels defeated by his lack of success and difficult family life. As a salesman, Willy Loman focuses more on personality and being well liked by everyone than actual skills. When he returns early from a business trip it is apparent that he is extremely distressed and confides that he almost got into an accident. All thought the play we get to witness Willy’s brain unravel and his tragic character flaws that all seem to stem from being abandoned by his father and brother. This abandonment leaves Willy with an extreme need for approval and direction but he’s also riddled with fears and insecurities. This fear ruins his character, making him an emotionally desperate and needy man who feels that the only way you can ever be successful in life is if you’re “well liked”. Which is heartbreaking because it becomes apparent throughout that he is not really liked or successful at all but living out fantasy scenarios to soothe the pain. His brother was the man he admired the most but throughout the play Ben is revealed as being a mean, nasty man who believe that being rich is the only sign of success even thought he stumbled upon his wealth thought pure luck. We began to see his open wounds from being abandoned that leads to this obsession with needing to be liked by everyone, why he and Biffs’ relationship is so tense and irreversibly broken but also why he’s so disrespectful to Linda.
The Destruction of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman In the book Death of A Salesman, author Arthur Miller shows how cruel life can be through the life of Willy Loman, the main character. His feelings of guilt, failure, and sadness result in his demise. Willy's sense of pride is a very big issue in his life; he doesn't like people to give him handouts, although he may need them. But the feeling of failure overrides him when he learns about the loss of his job.
Willy Loman's American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Death of a Salesman is the story of Willy Loman, a middle-class salesman who, in the course of a single day, comes to realize that the American Dream, which he has pursued for 40 years, has failed him. Willy's relentless, but naive pursuit of success has not only affected his sense of his own worth but has dominated the lives of his wife Linda and his sons Biff and Happy. In the course of the play he realizes his true position in life, and in a final attempt to secure his personal dignity and provide a future for his sons through his life insurance, he commits suicide. Willy Loman is, for Miller, the antithesis of the classic tragic hero. As his name implies, he is a `low man', an ordinary man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the false values of the society he has put his faith in.
“The present and the past coexist, but the past shouldn't be in flashback” -Alain Resnais. The play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller follows the life of a man named Willy Loman, and his family life with his two sons; Biff and Happy Loman, and wife, Linda Loman. Throughout the play, Willy has delusional episodes of past events in life, which he believes he is reliving, and these flashbacks are providing him an escape from dealing with the obstacles he is facing in life. The reader discovers that Willy is having an affair with a mistress titled The Woman, and he retreats to memories of their time together for an ego boost, though in reality he is arguing with his sons. Willy has an encounter with his brother Ben at the same time that he is playing cards with his neighbour Charlie, and because Willy’s mind is so far gone into the memory, Charlie leaves. During this flashback Willy sees his life compared to his successful brother, but he will not accept his lack of skill at being a salesman. His final flashback is a fake encounter he believes he has with his brother, and this progresses to Willy’s final act of suicide. Willy’s flashbacks are evidence that he is delusional because he cannot differentiate between a past event and reality.
Biff's Changing Perception in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman In Death of a Salesman, Biff's perception of society is altered through a chain of events throughout the play. His unrealistic expectations about how to succeed, learned from his father, eventually caused the destruction of his fantasies. His concept of an ideal society, where being liked is what is needed to succeed, is harshly changed to a reality where he must realize that hard work and devotion are necessary to prosper. Through a series of events, Biff gradually comes to a realization of what is necessary for success. First, we are shown a part of his childhood where Biff is told that "the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead."
Willy Loman becomes incredibly involved in work-related matters, instead of the happiness surrounding his family life. He discourages Biff to take his own path, and instead, nearly forces him to become a salesman, in hopes that Biff will be more successful than he turned out to be. Willy tells Biff that his dreams will “cut down (his) life…!” Willy cannot simply hope for Biff and Happy to attain satisfaction in life, which is the element that Willy misses. He is so consumed by the idea of success that he had not once stopped to reflect on being a good father or loving his wife. Having an affair was one of his main problems-he could not put enough love into his family, so he put it anywhere else he could. He visited his mistress on business ventures, which is the only aspect of his life he truly appreciated. Therefore, his home life became full of lies, Biff saying that they “never told the truth for ten minutes.” Miller is, again, critiquing American households, since their typical values revolve more around money and presentation than a loving, kind, and caring home. Willy had a family who loved him, but he neglected to notice this, which lead to his unhappiness. Never placing any type of value of love and kindness can cause a person to become cold and bitter, which is exactly what Willy became. He may have avoided suicide if he had realized the love and care he could have been surrounded