Analysis of the ending of 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller

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The play 'Death of a Salesman' shows the final demise of Willy Loman, a sixty-year-old salesman in the America of the 1940's, who has deluded himself all his life about being a big success in the business world. It also portrays his wife Linda, who 'plays along' nicely with his lies and tells him what he wants to hear, out of compassion. The book describes the last day of his life, but there are frequent 'flashbacks' in which Willy relives key events of the past, often confusing them with what is happening in the present. His two sons, Biff and Happy, who are in their 30's, have become failures like himself. Both of them have gone from idolizing their father in their youth to despising him in the present. On the last few pages of…show more content…
Afer he has left, Willy is deeply moved, because he realizes that Biff actually liked him. But even this realisation does not make him understand Biff, and he proclaims again that Biff 'will be magnificent!' (p.106). And his mental voice, in the form of Ben, adds that this will certainly be the case, especially 'with twenty thousand behind him'. He is freshly motivated to proceed with his old plan by his gross misinterpretation of Biff's startling behaviour. He is simply unable to realize, that money is not what Biff wants or needs. Although he does realize, that Biff, despite everything, loves him, and perhaps this is to him another incentive to give him the money. At the funeral, Happy is unchanged, his old self. He says that '[they] would've helped him' (p.110), even though he himself had been extremely cruel to Willy by abandoning him at a restaurant just before the big quarrel, and certainly this wasn't the only incident where he had shown no regard at all for Willy. Happy has obviously not learned a thing from the entire tragedy, which is why Biff gives him a 'hopeless' glance near the end of the Requiem. Biff speaks of the 'nice days' that they had had together, which all involve handyman's work Willy had done on the day. Charley adds to this that 'he was a happy man with a batch of cement' (p.110). This adds a new dimension to the tragedy, because it all indicates that Willy was,
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