His obsession with perfection is a reason for why, in reality, he did not have a happy family. By trying to make his family fit the image of the American Dream, he actually caused their unhappiness. Failing at this attempt of "perfecting" his family is just one example of Willy’s many mistakes. Due to the fact that he is a so-called perfectionist, accomplishment is never evident to Willy. Once he reaches any goal, he never sees the good in it; instead he only sees what he could have done better.
Foster, Richard J. (Confusion and Tragedy: The Failure of Miller's 'Salesman' (1959) rpt in clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1983 vol. 26:316 Gardner, R. H. ("Tragedy of the Lowest Man," in his Splintered Stage: (1965) rpt in clc.
"Willy Lomans life is just a meeting point, containing as it does, the contradictions of a culture whose dream of possibility has foundered on the banality of tus actualization, a culture that has lost its vision of transcendence, earthing it's aspirations so severely in the material world." (Bigsby pg. 1) Arthur millers story Death of a Salesman gives us a profile of a once well known man to a troubled father and husband to his family. Willy has a firm belief in what he thinks the perfect American Dream would be like and exactly how his sons biff and happy would achieve this dream. Willy believed good looks, material goods, and likeability would guarantee his sons this dream.
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. It is easy to see that these problems hurt his personal relationships with Biff and Happy, and they keep them from having a stable family. As the story unfolds, the flaws that each character possesses begin to all come back to Willy, and the way that he conducted his life. Early on in the story, it is clear that the brothers are very different, but each of them shares something with Willy. Biff is the all-american boy, and seems to have everything going for him.
His boss was looking to fire him for a long time. His whole life, he has had the wrong idea. “Success doesn’t come from just luck, popularity, or personality. All throughout the Death of a Salesman, Loman tells his two sons, Biff and Happy, that the key to success in life is to be “well liked” and that all you need is “a smile and a shoeshine.” (Brett) However, Willy completely ignored his true calling of working with his hands, to become a business man. He was so infatuated with the American Dream, he didn’t realize that he wasn’t a good Salesman, and would have succeeded as ... ... middle of paper ... ...ity to indulge in a world that doesn’t exist.
The play, Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, set in the last century, centers around Willy Lowman, a traveling salesman in New England. The play grows out of Willy’s serious mental illness resulting from a disparity between reality and Willy’s idealistic goals of success. Willy’s visions of success through abundant material wealth deviate as Willy struggles to provide for his wife, Linda, and his two sons. As a result of his apparent failure of success, Willy tries to live vicariously through his son, Biff Lowman, who appears to have the ability to be a successful businessman by Willy’s standards. However, Willy fully dedicates his attention to Biff while neglecting to take an interest in his second son, Happy, who takes after his father’s
His brother’s influence deluded him into believing that being “well-liked” and “personally attractive” are all it takes to acquire the American Dream, not hard work and innovation. As a result, Willy sets unrealistic goals for himself. He emphasizes his image and the need for material success, as seen when he complains to Linda about the out-of-date brand of their refrigerator. The ideas of appearance and materialism corrupting the American Dream parallel some themes of The Great Gatsby. After years of chasing the wrong dream, Willy refused to admit his failure, spiraling his mentality downward as he struggles to differentiate between his dream and reality.