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Good looking and Popularity in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Nowadays, people are concentrating more and more on good looks and likeability because it gives them confidence, and often, these traits come with money and power. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller portrays the life of a salesman, Willy, who values the superficial quality of likeability and attractiveness over learning. He is obsessed with the idea of being well-liked which ultimately takes him nowhere. His son unfortunately follows that principle and ends up with an unhappy life. Many events that happen in this play reflect on a principle that being popular is not the only thing one needs to have in order to gain respect and be successful in life. Truth is that hard work without complaint is the key to success.

“Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home anymore/Bigger than Uncle Charlie! Because Charley is not-liked. He is liked, but he is not well-liked” (1244). This quote shows how Willy uses popularity as a measurement to one success in life. He believes that his son will be more successful in the future because he is more well-like than Uncle Charlie. Willy uses this ideal as a foundation for his entire life and clearly this belief has also transfer to his son. “Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand…Because the men who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want” (1246). Willy discredits Bernard learning abilities and puts the popularity matters above everything else which is ironic because Bernard hard work pays off as a successful business when Biff is going nowhere with the popularity he has in high school. This quote further emphasizes Willy only interest is popularity and ...

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...to success and fame.
Throughout the play, many events show Willy appreciation to traits such as good looking and popularity. He uses this as a principal to not only live his life but also encourage others to do the same. like his son. He gives a condescending look on people who do not agree or live or the same ideal that he does when he does not think Bernard will be success because he is a nerd that only focus on school work. However, that one thing, hard work is more important to become successful than anything of the superficial perception of look and popularity that Willy has. Only until very end of life, he realizes that look and popularity is not what it takes to live a happy life.

Work Cited
Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. 8th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W.W.Norton, 2013. 1235-295. Print.
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