Male expectations are ever present in our world creating an adverse effect on men making them feel inferior if they are unable to succeed financially. Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman explicitly shows just how harmful these expectations can be to a person and their families. The main character in the play Death of a Salesman Willy Loman is greatly affected by these male expectations. The man is expected to not only support his family but must also be able to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. 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. 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. Happy is always competing for his father’s attention but is never able to steal the spotlight away from Biff. Throughout the play Happy defends his father and never admits to himself that his father is the main reason for his and his brother’s failures in life.
A downfall of the Loman boys is their father’s ideas of how to be successful in life. Willy builds up his sons so much that they end up failing. Willy fills his sons with hot air because he himself is the failure and cannot imagine his sons being the same way. Because of everything his father has instilled in him, Biff is so sure that being popular and well liked is the key to success. This belief leads to him flunking out of school and not making anything of his life. Willy has convinced his children that the most important thing in life...
... middle of paper ...
...s own life because of the ideas Willy had instilled in him his entire life. Willy’s failure not only affects him but also his family because now they are left without a father and a husband. The belief Biff would be unable to succeed without his father’s life insurance money is enough to drive Willy to committ suicide. Willy believed that in death he would be giving Biff twenty thousand dollars to help him become a success. Male expectations put too much pressure on men to be the most successful. If a man does not achieve “the ultimate goal” he is made to feel inferior and like a failure. We see that in Death of a Salesman when a man is unable to achieve ultimate success it can destroy one’s life and can drive a person to insanity and suicide.
Gill, M.S. “Boning Up.” Rolling Stone; 3/19/92 Issue 626, p62.
Miller, Arthur. Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.
Sander, Fred M. “Psychoanalysis, Drama, and the Family: The Ever-Widening Scope.” Annual of Psychoanalysis; 2001, Vol. 29, p279.
Siegel, Lee. “Cultural Misconceptions.” New Republic; 08/02/99, Vol. 221 Issue 5, p18.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The primary theme of this play is love and marriage and Wilde explores the male and female role expectations, beliefs and ideals of domestic relationships of the upper class British society in the late 1890’s. The social norms of the Victorian era had strict rules for the behaviours of men and women. For women, who were legally their husband’s property until 1884, high standards were expected. They were to run a respectable household, delegate servants, be quite, compassionate, ladylike and virtuous.... [tags: Oscar Wilde, theatre, ]
1333 words (3.8 pages)
- The experiences that I am about to discuss regarding my life and gender expectations in school are what I felt, went through and continued to go through until I was able to come to grips with, are real and heartfelt. As far as I can remember, being a little girl between the ages of four and five in junior kindergarten, I was able to understand the difference between male and female. It did not take long to realize that I was a little different even from most of the females. At this very early point in my life, the realization was that I was not skinny like most females of my age in my class.... [tags: Gender, Female, Male, Sex]
848 words (2.4 pages)
- To the rest of the world, Japan is a country strongly regarded for its gender stereotypes. Men are typically the ones who bring in the main income, while women, even those highly qualified, will act as both a worker and a housewife, “with a primary duty to their families and a secondary one to themselves and their careers”. Expectations of Failure: Maturity and Masculinity for Freeters in Contemporary Japan aims to explore how gender expectations of ‘ideal masculinity’ and ‘manhood’ from both societal and personal relationships affect the lifestyle and work ethics of male freeters.... [tags: Gender, Male, Gender role, Interview]
823 words (2.4 pages)
- My initial expectations for this article was a simple experiment with very obvious outcomes. It is not extremely unfitting to assume that males would have larger nose shapes and females would have smaller nose shapes. This however was not my opinion after reading the article; the authors state that they will observe many different variables: sex differences in nasal shape related to ontogenetic increases in body size (body size as one develops compared to nose shape in males vs females) male-female differences in patterns of non allometric variation sex differences in the strength of integration between nasal region and other aspects of the facial skeleton (how integrated the nose region is... [tags: Sex, Male, Sexual dimorphism, Gender]
967 words (2.8 pages)
- Back in the 1800’s, men were always considered in charge. Men were more dominating than females where they lived in a patriarchal society-which men rule over woman. Those who were dominant worked jobs, took care of their family and played up to the role of a “macho man.” Macho men are supposed to have this built body that makes females drool, manliness between other males, and this sexy personality that make females fight each other over. Male dominance was very well known that all male felt obligated to live up to the expectations needed.... [tags: Gender, Male, Female, Man]
929 words (2.7 pages)
- Change Rediscovered Who cares what people think about my body. For years, these words were almost exclusively uttered by men and self-secure people alike. However, with increasing societal pressures and expectations, abdominal muscles seem to be getting more attention than ever and male models seem to be just as highly coveted as women in the modeling industry. It seems that, the rise in men’s desire for a more masculine, defined body, in conjunction with the women’s desire for a man that has comparable beauty to the men they see in advertisements, come together to create revolutionized shift in the male body image.... [tags: Female, Male, Gender, Man]
2006 words (5.7 pages)
- Gender Roles Cultural expectations shape the way men and women act on a daily basis . These expectations are better known as gender roles. Gender roles are a type of guideline that a man or woman is expected to follow in society . Two of the most seen gender roles are that men are supposed to pay on the first date and that females are supposed to dress conservatively on the first date . Gender roles go into much more complexity than that though . Each individual 's gender roles are shaped by cultural expectations and these roles vary from each culture .... [tags: Gender role, Gender, Woman, Male]
1147 words (3.3 pages)
- According to Helgeson (2012), gender roles refer to the psychological attributes and expectations we have for the biological categories of the female and male sex. The text suggests that we “typically expect men to be strong, independent, and competitive, and to keep their emotions hidden” (Helgeson, 2012, p.4), where as women are expected to be “caring, emotionally expressive, polite and helpful” (Helgeson, 2012, p.4). These traits are then used to classify one as either masculine or feminine.... [tags: Gender role, Gender, Male, Woman]
743 words (2.1 pages)
- Great Expectations – Discuss Pip’s views of expectations and how they affect him. The novel Great Expectations is focused around the theme of a young male’s expectations and how they rule his life. It tells us the effects they have on people and the negative impact they have on Pip’s life. The Title to the novel “Great Expectations” totally contradicts the main theme in the book, as the expectations turn out to be not so great after all. The book is split up into 3 sections of Pip’s “Great Expectations”, all of these sections show us how Pip’s life has been affected by these expectations.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
1289 words (3.7 pages)
- Charles Dickens unified his novel Great Expectations through the prevalence of blacksmith characters and his repetitive use of blacksmithing language. The main character, Pip, grows up at a forge and during his time there learns that language. During his time in London, Pip becomes able to apply that terminology to the world outside of the forge. Pip repeatedly links together information and then forges connections to make sense of the world around him. For Pip to learn to make these links, Charles Dickens created two early influences for him in Great Expectations.... [tags: Great Expectations Essays]
3779 words (10.8 pages)