Most people strive for excellence in their lives and aspire to succeed at whatever they complete. Success means many different things to different people. It includes happiness, money, and a career. In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, we follow Willy Loman, the protagonist, as he reviews a life of desperate pursuit of a dream of success. Miller uses many characters to contrast the difference between success and failure within the play. Willy is a salesman whose imagination is much greater than his sales ability; he is also a failure as a father and husband. Biff and Happy are his two adult sons, who follow in their father's fallacy of life, while Ben and his father are the only members of the Loman family with that special something needed to succeed. Charlie and his son Bernard, enjoy better success in life compared to the Loman's who attempt to succeed but constantly seem to fail.
Willy Loman is the main character and protagonist in Death of A Salesman. For Willy Loman, perseverance and diligence are not important but rather material success, as well as personal attractiveness. Willy cannot see who he and his sons are. He believes they are great men who have what it takes to be successful and beat the business world. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. In reality, Willy and sons are not, and cannot, be successful. Willy was not successful at anything he did in life. He was a failure as a father, husband and businessman. Willy was not a good father because he focused too much on his career and his false dreams and ignored his family. Since he was always away on business trips he never really got to know his sons well. His love for his ...
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..., wrong." (Miller 138) The Loman's are all an example of what life is like if you continually live in a dream world and never train yourself for anything. Ben and his father are the exceptions in the Loman family. Charlie and his son Bernard were also able to achieve greatness and to make the system work for them. In the end, the decision to make a successful life is, up to the individual.
Works Cited and Consulted
Eisinger, Chester E. "Focus on Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman': The Wrong Dreams," in American Dreams, American Nightmares, (1970 rpt In clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1976 vol. 6:331
Hoeveler, D. J. "Success and Failure" Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman: Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Blum. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1988. 72-81.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.
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