All thought the play we get to witness Willy’s brain unravel and his tragic character flaws that all seem to stem from being abandoned by his father and brother. This abandonment leaves Willy with an extreme need for approval and direction but he’s also riddled with fears and insecurities. This fear ruins his character, making him an emotionally desperate and needy man who feels that the only way you can ever be successful in life is if you’re “well liked”. Which is heartbreaking because it becomes apparent throughout that he is not really liked or successful at all but living out fantasy scenarios to soothe the pain. His brother was the man he admired the most but throughout the play Ben is revealed as being a mean, nasty man who believe that being rich is the only sign of success even thought he stumbled upon his wealth thought pure luck.
< http://www.healthymind.com/s-distortions.html> Hadhomi, Leah. “Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a Salesman”. Willy Loman. New York: Chelsea House, 1991. Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell.
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is about a traveling salesman named Willy Loman who has hit a rough patch in his life. Willy seems to have a normal family, with a wife and two boys. His sons, Happy and Biff, while different, represent Willy in many ways. Willy always strived to be successful and struggled for acceptance, which also represents his sons personalities and outlooks. 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.
Willy is a very insecure, delusional, and misguided individual who whole-heartily believes the various lies and stunted interpretation he has based his life on; he believes that in order to be successful, one must be popular and attractive. Willy and his family are put at a disadvantage because throughout their lives “they continue to believe that the greater world will embrace them, will proclaim them, simply because they are superficially charming, are occasionally witty, and can bluster and brag with the best of them” (Thompson). Willy continues to look up to individuals that are very successful. Dave Singleman, and Willy’s brother are two characters in the play that Willy looks up to because of their hard-earned success. However, Willy helps the audience have an insight to the corrupted view of the American dream that is based on materialism, popularity, likability, and attractiveness.
Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man trying and failing to obtain success for him and his family. Willy Loman, a traveling salesman, has been trying to ‘make it big’ for the majority of his life. Miller’s play explores the themes of abandonment and betrayal and their effects on life’s success. Willy sees himself as being abandoned by his older brother, Ben, and constantly views his sibling’s betrayal as one that changed his prospects forever. Willy, in turn, is guilty of a different type of abandonment and betrayal of his sons, especially Biff.
Willy Loman definitely does possess a tragic flaw, and in his case it is pride. Loman cannot accept that he is a terrible salesman, a substandard provider, and suffering from mental illness. He borrows money every week from Charley, his neighbor, so that he can tell his family stories of his successful sales trips. While Willy definitely does possess a tragic flaw, another criterion required by Aristotle is peripeteia, a character's reversal near the end of the story for the purpose of self-reservation. Willy definitely does not meet this criterion.
In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the conflicts that formulate between Biff and Willy Loman build up to the death of Willy. Biff’s delusional perception of being liked in the world leads to a successful life which was an idea brought onto him by his father, Biff’s discovery of his father's affair, and Biff’s lack of business success all accumulate to the heavy conflicting relationship between Biff and his father, Willy. These contribute immensely to the idea that personal dreams and desire to reach success in life can negatively impact life with personal relationships, which causes people to lose sight of what is important. This ultimately leads to the Willy committing suicide from the build up of problems with his son. During the
Willy’s inability to succeed financially as expected from society in turn affects his two sons Biff and Happy and his loving wife Linda. Willy’s oldest son Biff is the most affected by his father’s failures. Biff is more affected by his father’s failure to his mother than his father’s financial failures. Biff’s whole life is ruined when he finds out that his father is cheating on his mother after all she has done for him. When Biff realizes that he has been idolizing a failure he is devestated.
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.