Comparing Father and Child Relationships in Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge

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Father and Child Relationships in Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge

In literature as in life, we go through events which are the effects of the relationships between parent and child. In both plays Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller depicts the possessiveness of human nature through the eyes of Willy Loman and Eddie Carbone. Willy and his son Biff exhibit an undoubtable strain in their relationship. Willy gives all his dreams to Biff in hope that he will carry on or create success for himself. Eddie wants the best for his niece, Catherine, but is unaware of his over protectiveness which in actuality is an element much more repelling. The relationships between father and child characters place tension upon everyone and ultimately is a factor in the protagonists common tragedy.

In Death of a Salesman, although Biff and Happy are both sons of Willy Loman, there is a strong emphasis on Biff only. Willy places all his hopes on Biff and even overestimates him. "Because you got greatness in you, Biff, remember that. You got all kinds of greatness...like a young god. Hercules...God Almighty, he'll be great yet. A star like that, magnificent, can never really fade away!"(Miller, DOS 68) Willy views Biff as a mirror image of himself when he was young, successful and "well-liked." He wants Biff to be what he was and what he never became. Willy has overwhelming pride in Biff and expectations that cannot be fulfilled. These feelings exhibited by Willy is purely due to human nature. It is the desire of

all father to have a son who emulates their successful aspects and to carry these traits into the preceding generations. However, Biff knows that h...

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Welland, Dennis. "Death of a Salesman", "A View from the Bridge" Miller The Playwright. Second ed. London: Methuen London Ltd. 1983

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