Winnie Zhong 2/13/2014 English 10 Dr. Lupardo Death of a Salesman Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller in 1949, is a play attempts to identify and validate the “tragic flaw” of a common man. It is a tragedy describing the consequences arose between a family’s American dream and the reality of their lives. Willy Loman, the main character, is bought into an extreme obsession of the American Dream or the success in becoming a “well liked” salesman. However, after having done everything in order to achieve and live the dream, Willy Loman fails to receive the success promised by it. Throughout the play, the most important reason causing Willy’s failure in achieving his goal seems to be his own inability to recognize the unpleasant reality while continually living in a slanted fantasy that his mind has created.
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. He had the potential to become a carpenter, to do what made him happy, and he threw it away. In the end, he lied about how popular, well-liked, and good at his job he was in order to justify his suffering, and this is evidenced by the lack of people that showed up to his funeral. He truly was a “low man”. Tragically, Willy firmly held onto his misguided dream because it was all he had left, and he continued to believe in it until his inevitable
When Biff realizes that he has been idolizing a failure he is devestated. Biffs life begins to tumble downhill uncontrollably. Biff is so affected by is father’s wrongdoings that is creates never-ending animosity between Willy and Biff. Biff feels that the reason him and his father are always fighting is because “he’s a fake and he doesn’t like anybody around who knows!” (Miller 1221) Happy, Willy’s younger son, is also greatly affected by Willy’s antics. Happy is affected differently than Biff because Happy never realizes that his father is a failure.
Nevertheless, Willy is a poor aging salesman that considers himself to be a failure when comparing himself to his successful father and brother, but he is incapable of consciously admitting it. Consequently, Willy will measure his level of success with the level of success attained by his offspring, particularly his eldest son Biff. Their difficult relationship contribute to the play's main plot. Willy unfolds his deluded perception and recollection of the events as the audience gradually witnesses the tragic downfall of a man shadowed by a mental illness that has already began to take it's toll on his mind and personality. Willy Loman will bring his downfall upon himself as he entices his own disillusions and the bedrock of his values pertaining to success and how one can achieve it.
Willy?s devotion to his family is sabotaged by his misconceived ideas on how love is conveyed, as he attempts to endow his sons with corrupt objectives. Willy?s identity crisis brings him much despair because without comprehension of his true nature his aspirations are inappropriate. Willy?s relationship with Biff is unquestionably most significant in Death of a Salesman, for it emphasizes the theme of self-awareness and its importance in the novel. Willy?s existence consists of a ?patchwork of errors in judgement, mental and moral lapses, and misdirected hopes?, however, Willy?s ?greatest mistake is living far too long with the wrong dream? (Nelson 110).
This turns sour however, after Biff discovers the father he idolizes was not all he had thought him to be. Afterward, familial dynamics are never the same, as Willy continues to hope that Biff will succeed, ignorant- perhaps purposely so- that his son is failing out of spite, knowing that all his father’s hopes are resting on his shoulders. Willy’s relationships with his two sons are tentative at best, but Happy and Biff are partly to blame for this downhill spiral- as their relationship is just as complex. In the play, “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman remembers scenes from years previous, particularly idyllic times when his two sons were still young and full of promise. Willy’s memories focus on Biff: Biff’s chances at success, Biff’s talents, Biff’s popularity.
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller paints the relationship of Willy and his two sons, Biff and Happy, through the dreams of living a successful life but achieving that success in the wrong manner. He wants his kids to live a better life than he had to but he had no clue on how togain this success the correct way. This wrong teaching built a wedge in their relationship with neither being successful and their father never letting them hear the end of it. His high expectations deemed foolish with his many failures at life and even indulging in an affair, guiding his sons down the wrong path of life. Willy’s dreams of having a successful life in the future are lived through the ones of his children because he couldn’t find a way to achieve
Constantly, each character escapes their problems with deceit. Even Biff remains in this state of falsehood, until he reaches his epiphany. The main character Willy Loman, is constantly fooling himself into believing that he is a huge success. He often lies to his family about how well he is doing, when truthfully his salary was taken away, and he has to borrow money from his neighbor, Charlie. When Linda asks him about his wages, he replies “I’ll knock ‘em dead next week.” (Miller 36) Willy says this, very well knowing that he will not.
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.
Miller uses Willy and his eldest son Biff to demonstrate how having the struggle to gain power over others can destroy the common man. Throughout the play, Miller idealizes Ben, Willy’s older brother, to depict Willy’s motive for becoming an influential and successful salesman. In reality, it is safe to say that Willy is a hugely unsuccessful salesman. Willy clouds this truth by lying to himself and his family, “I’m vital in New England,”