Through the play Willy is striving to live the American Dream; to have a better, richer and happier life. He is obsessed with materialism thinking that acquiring possessions will make him and his family happy. When Linda tries to mend her stockings, Willy tells her “I won’t have you mending stockings in this household”¹. This shows how he strives to bring the American dream home and how much he wants the rest of the family to believe in his dreams too. It also shows how guilty and remorseful he feels about his affair with ‘the woman’ who he gave new pairs of stockings to as a present which he should have saved for his ever-loyal wife at home.
Throughout the play the audience learn how importantly Willy feels about upholding his pride and morals. He teaches Biff and Happy that it is charisma and not brains which will make them successful. In his flashbacks he tells them “the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead”² and scorns Bernard who gets high grades. By being a salesman, he believed himself to be well liked and valued in society and he devoted his life to it. Accordingly, when Howard fires him from the company, his pride is ruined and he feels as though he has failed his family “(a...
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...alesmen will be there from all over the country and in that way he will be able to prove to Biff and his family that he was a great man to be proud of. “I am known...and he’ll see it with his eyes once and for all”¹³. However, no one but his family and next door neighbours, Charley, who Willy described as his “only friend”, and Bernard, arrive and both Biff and Happy see Willy to have taken the cowards way out as Ben had suggested. They realise that Willy’s life was a lie as Linda says “there’s more of him in that front stoop than all the sales he ever made”¹⁴. Even though all these points are evident in his funeral, tragedy is also presented in that Happy decides to take up Willy’s job as a salesman despite its leading Willy into so much despair. Happy is desperate to help Willy like he never allowed him to do in his life since his attention was focused on Biff.
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