This furthermore leads to the downfall of Willy and his family, proving that Willy Loman is a tragic hero. To conclude, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller satisfies the criteria for a tragic play because Willy’s pride is a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. Ultimately, Willy gains enlightenment of his false perception of life and realizes how he inhibits the success of his family. This epiphany leads him to sacrifice himself for the well-being of his family. During his lifetime, Willy’s pride caused him to have an overinflated ego, a bizarre idealistic view on life, and a false value system.
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is the story of a man much like Miller's father, a salesman, "whose misguided notions of success result in disillusionment" (Draper 2360). The suppression of the main character, Willy Loman's, true nature is a result of his pursuit of a completely misguided dream. The fraudulent and miserable existence this generates is accentuated by the father-son relationship he shares with his son Biff. Willy Loman has surrendered the life of himself and his sons to a dream of success, while this dream is not particularly reprehensible, it is nevertheless unsuitable for him and can only be kept alive at the expense of his selfhood. Because Willy does not know himself, his ambitions ?are based on false conceptions of one?s talents and capacities?
Willy builds up his sons so much that they end up failing. Willy fills his sons with hot air because he himself is the failure and cannot imagine his sons being the same way. Because of everything his father has instilled in him, Biff is so sure that being popular and well liked is the key to success. This belief leads to him flunking out of school and not making anything of his life. Willy has convinced his children that the most important thing in life... ... middle of paper ... ...s own life because of the ideas Willy had instilled in him his entire life.
Biff has failed in the business world and has accepted his failure as his own fault. However Willy fears that Biff blames him for his failure. Willy’s adulterous ways left Biff without a role model, so he feels responsible for his son’s failure. Willy’s guilt is apparent when he tells Biff, “when you’re rotting somewhere beside the railroad tracks, remember, and don’t blame me!”(130). Willy denies his guilt, because he sees himself as the cause of Biff’s failure, meaning that he himself failed as a father.
Willy Loman’s tragic flaw would be his excessive and unwarranted pride. This is because his pride causes him to live his life in a world of delusion, ultimately resulting in his very death. Willy’s pride first leads him into misunderstanding and mistreating his family, consequently resulting in family feuds and resentment. It then leads him into building his life out of false hopes, consequently resulting in his absolute failure in the business world. Finally, it results in him living an incredibly narcissistic and delusional life; to a point where he believes that he can attain fame and success through suicide.
His distorted perceptions of the American Dream ultimately ruined his life and the lives of his family. Sadly, Willy definitely failed as a father. He obviously favored his eldest son Biff over his youngest son Happy, and this constant neglect drove Happy to become more like his older brother as an adult in order to win his father’s approval. We can see this through his philandering behavior, something Biff was known for in high school, the golden years. Biff, on the other hand, had it worse because his father sold him lies about his importance in the business industry, which forced Biff to admire Willy and strive to be like him one day.
In Willy’s deluded state, he lied to his family, regularly lying to them of his success at work. Willy was unable to let go of his false dreams, resulting in him carrying them to his grave. Ultimately, in Willy living to satisfy a dream, which was not his own, led to, unhappiness to both, him and his family, and in time eventually, his death. Willy’s false dreams and illusions tormented the whole Loma family, especially his two sons, Biff and Happy, who suffered greatly because of them. Willy was a deluded idealist who at a very early age taught his two sons to believe that, “…the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who... ... middle of paper ... ...of her very persona and individuality.
This haunting is part of what led to Willy’s slow plunge into madness. As Willy’s career in sales fails, he also fails, even failing his family. Heyen adds: “He didn’t have anything of real value to give to his family, or if he did, he didn’t know what it was” (48). His debilitating flashbacks and delusional hallucinations with Uncle Ben cement his horrifying realizations that he has let down his family. Willy Loman blames the economy for his downfall in his career.
He constantly reminds them, “the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (Miller 67). This is also ironic because Willy is the man who creates personal interest in the business world, but when everyone passes away he is left with nothing but the past to remember. This false reality that Willy creates for Biff brings on the conflicts between the father and son duo due to the fact that Biff fails as a result of the way he was raised. So by the time Biff goes to interview for his first job he thinks that his success will come with no effort
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 .