Willy's Struggle for Identity in "Death of a Salesman"

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Throughout his life, Willy Loman thinks of himself as well-liked in the play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. It is the most important attribute to him. Willy lived his life thinking he had thousands of friends all over the New England territory and that he would be recognized anywhere he would go. He boasts this to his sons and they think he is the greatest man on Earth. He raises his two sons, Biff and Happy, to be well-liked and Willy does not care about their grades. He believes they will be better prepared for the business world if they are well-liked, and does not think education matters as much as personality, appearance, and physical skill. Although he has set high standards for sons, his morals are being well-liked, he thinks he is the best salesman in his firm, and he claims to be extremely loyal to his family; despite this, he is none of these. Willy still struggles to find out why his son, Biff, has not made anything of himself yet. Instead of a stable job, Biff has been a farmhand across the country earning only $35 a week (Act I. Scene I). Willy does not know where he has gone wrong with raising his kids, with his job, and overall with his life (Krutch, 308-309). To find the solutions to the problems driving him insane, Willy looks to his past. While he is day-dreaming he actually talks to himself and makes his family worried about his health and sanity. He daydreams and feels as if he is actually encountering the past once again in his journey. Willy is desperately trying to find out what has gone wrong in his life, why no one responds to him in the positive way that he used to, and why Biff does not have a stable job or a family. Through his trek to finding his mistakes in life, Willy finds r... ... middle of paper ... team or try to be successful at all. This is what caused Biff to "give up" on his life. Willy's search to find his mistakes of his life failed because, even though he found out what happened to Biff, he did not search for the right thing: his identity. Willy found out that his affair made Biff envision his father as a fake and phony, but he did not realize that a salesman was not the right job for him. When Willy died, no one came to his funeral (Act II. Scene I). This just showed that Willy was not the man he thought he was. He thought he was a great salesman with an unlimited amount of friends, but, when he died, no one was at his funeral but his family (Act II. Scene I). It showed that Willy was just a simple craftsman, who only needed attention and love from his family, and did not need fame or to be well-known ("Arthur Miller and Others," 311-314)
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