It leaves the audience wondering if Happy loved his father more than the worshipped Biff, or if Biff loved his father so much he could not stand to touch the money, knowing that his father had killed himself solely for his benefit. Though the characters in “Death of a Salesman” are often at odds with each other, Willy and his sons love and care for each other in a way worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy.
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. Willy’s consistent stroking of Biff’s ego misled Biff into thinking that he could get away with anything simply because he was “popular” and “well-liked”. However, when Biff accidentally stumbles upon his father’s adultery, his world crashes in on itself as he loses his sense of identity. He quotes, “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been” (Act II). Willy wasn’t much better with his “friends”.
Many times during the play we come to realize that Willy drifts in and out of flashbacks. Most of these occur during the period when Biff was in high school, and foreshadow the events of the present. For example, in one of the flashbacks, Biff “borrows” a football from the locker room and is told by Willy, “Coach will probably congratulate you on your initiative.” Obviously, Willy tries to justify Biff’s behavior in addition to his own. In the same flashback Willy asks Biff, “What do they say about you in school, now that they made you captain?” Willy proudly hears that Biff has a crowd of followers, and is well on his way to becoming well-liked ... ... middle of paper ... ...and allow harmful activities. “I never told him anything but decent things,” Willy says with grief and regret.
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller describes Willy Loman as a tragic character who failed to succeed his dreams. Willy never becomes a part of the American Dream, because he is always following other people’s dreams but never his own. He chooses to become a salesman only because he is truly inspired by Ben and Dave Singleman’s successes. Willy Loman, a rather hard working man, might succeed his own American Dream in another career that he is capable of. The fantastic illusions that he himself creates due to the inspiration of others’ successes eventually lead to his failure as well as his sons’.
Reality and Illusion in Death of a Salesman In Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, the major theme as well as the main source of conflict is Willy's inability to distinguish between reality and illusion. Willy has created a fantasy world for himself and his family, a world in which he and his sons are great men who "have what it takes" to make it in the context of business and free enterprise. In reality, none of them can achieve greatness until they confront and deal with this illusion. Willy's most prominent illusion is that success is dependant upon popularity and personal attractiveness. Willy builds his entire life around this idea and teaches it to his children.
Willy runs away from responsibility, and he asks others for handouts when in need, setting a bad example for his sons. Until the day he dies, Willy has delusions about the facts of his life. Willy never does grow up. Works Cited Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman.
This when he began to sell himself to people so he would be loved and admired by people after his day has come. This ideology that Willy had messed with his family. For starter, his wife Linda thinks of her husband as a great salesman and husband. She has no idea that it is just a character that Willy has been playing for all those years. This ideology puts a gap between him and his son Biff that never gets fully put back together.
This idea of likability filters throughout all of the other aspects of Mr. Loman’s life and as he grows older he fails to understand that he is living a lie. The illusion of self worth, through being liked, affects everything in Willy’s life from his work to the dysfunction of his family, and is the fueled by his wavering hope in the American dream. Early on in the play the notion of likability is shown through Willy’s ranting when he returns home from a business trip. Biff has come home from being out west and his father believes that he is failure. Willy is unafraid to let his disappointment be heard to let Biff know he is not fond him at the moment, “Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace” (Miller, 2330).
Willy entirely disregards Bernard and only cares about Bi... ... middle of paper ... ...grasp the truth of his unaccomplished life and his failure as a father and a husband and a successful man. Willy throughout the course of the play, daydream he is conversing with his successful brother Ben. Willy memories of Ben, are a constant reminder of how he falls short of his American Dream. Consequently the real tragedy wasn’t Willy failing to achieve the American dream, but rather his American Dream ignores the love of his family. It’s quite ironic that Willy literally kills himself for money at the end of the play.
He leads his sons to believe the same ludicrous keys to success, pointing them in the same direction of failure. Everyone but Willy sees fault in his judgement as “his old friends, the old buyers that loved him so and alwaysfound some order to hand him in a pinch -- they’re all dead, retired” (Miller 32). With these factors counting against him, Willy still has not realized his life is at a standstill, not moving at all and he’s failing. His entire life he’d depended on the help of other people. Although he wants his sons to live a successful life, he’s teaching them the wrong points of gaining that particular lifestyle.