Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller concerns itself with the fall of a simple man perpetually in a steadfast state regarding his own failure in a success-driven society. The protagonist of the play, Willy Loman, will follow a tragic trajectory that will eventually lead to his suicide. Arthur Miller's tragic play is an accurate portrayal of the typical American myth that sustains an extreme craving for success and a belief in the illusion of the American dream, a dream attainable only by a handful of people. Having chosen a career in sales Willy Loman constantly aspires to become 'great'. 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. His failure to recognize the fruitless outcome of his own idealism will seal his fated suicide and have a determining effect on the failures of his two sons that when adolescent, idolized their father as a guid... ... middle of paper ... ...am. It's the only dream you can have-to come out number-one man.(…) I'm gonna win for him" (p.138-139). He thus reinstates that Willy's dream is realistic and attainable. Biff on the other hand, has a firm grasp on reality, and chooses not to make the same mistakes his father made: "He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong."(p.138).The contrast between Happy and Biff definitely re-emphasises an ongoing gap between reality and illusion throughout the entire play, and brings about a better understanding of the depth of Willy Loman's tragic flaw. Hence, this strive for success as defined by the American dream has only room for a few men. An impossible dream for the average man that Happy will never attain, a dream rejected by Biff that finally searches within himself for happiness rather than in the eyes of the one that beholds this fallacious dream, his father.

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