A major theme and source of conflict throughout Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, is the Loman family's inability to distinguish between reality and illusion. This is particularly evident in the father, Willy Loman. Willy has created a fantasy world for himself and his family. In this world, he and his sons are men of greatness that "have what it takes" to make it in the business environment. In reality, none of them can achieve greatness until they confront and deal with this illusion.
Willy's most prominent illusion is that success is dependant upon popularity and having personal attractiveness. Willy builds his entire life around this idea and teaches it to his children. When Willy was young, he had met a man named Dave Singleman who was so well-liked that he was able to make a living simply by stay...
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Gardner, R. H. ("Tragedy of the Lowest Man," in his Splintered Stage: (1965) rpt in clc. Detroit: Gale Research. 1983 vol. 2l6:320
Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman" in Literature, Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Fourth Edition. Harcourt, Inc. 2000.
Schlueter, June. Essay over "Death of a Salesman" in Arthur Miller-Criticism and Interpretation. The Ungar Publishing Company. 1987. 65.
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