Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman follows protagonist Willy Loman in his search to better his and his family’s lives. Throughout Willy Loman’s career, his mind starts to wear down, causing predicaments between his wife, two sons and close friends. Willy’s descent into insanity is slowly but surely is taking its toll on him, his job and his family. They cannot understand why the man they have trusted for support all these years is suddenly losing his mind. Along with his slope into insanity, Willy’s actions become more aggressive and odd as the play goes on. Despite Willy and Biff’s “family feud”, his two sons Happy and Biff truly worry about their father’s transformation, Happy saying: “He just wants you to make good, that’s all. I
In Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman’s life seems to be slowly deteriorating. It is clear that Willy’s predicament is of his own doing, and that his own foolish pride and ignorance lead to his downfall. Willy’s self-destruction involved the uniting of several aspects of his life and his lack of grasping reality in each, consisting of, his relationship with his wife, his relationship and manner in which he brought up his children, Biff and Happy, and lastly his inability to productively earn a living and in doing so, failure to achieve his “American Dream”.
In “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, in the Act I, the author emphasizes the relationship between Willy and Linda in different ways by showing the love of Linda towards Willy and how she admires him. And also, she always shows her patient when Willy gets angry easily. The relationship between Willy and Biff is different from the past. Willy’s relationship with Biff is complicated. Biff is everything for Willy and Biff believed that Willy is the greatest father in the world, but in the present Biff doesn’t think like that anymore.
In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the author conveys the reader about how a person lives his life when he or she cannot live the “American Dream.” Willy Loman, the main character in the play is a confused and tragic character. He is a man who is struggling to hold onto what morality he has left in a changing society that no longer values the ideals he grew up to believe in. Even though the society he lives in can be blamed for much of his misfortune, he must also be the blame for his bad judgment, disloyalty and his foolish pride.
Willy’s biggest issue with his son is that he let him down by not being any more successful than him. He feels like Biff is failing on purpose just to make him look bad. Although, he has no decent job and is single; Biff has become disoriented about life. Earlier in the play Biff tells Happy, “I tell ya Hap, I don't know what the future is. I don't know - what I'm supposed to want” (Miller266). Biff once looked up to his father as a role model, but lost all faith in him once finding out that he was having an affair. Ever since he has rejected Willy’s commitment of being a husband and also a father. To add to his ruins are Willy’s ideas of how Biff should get ahead in life. Willy taught Biff that popularity was the right way to get to the top, rather than hard-work and dedication. Trying to live by his dad’s standards caused Biff to fail high school and become unable to put forth the effort to become
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 foolishly pursues the wrong dream and constantly lives in an unreal world blinded from reality. Despite his dream Willy constantly attempts to live in an artificial world and claims “If old Wagner was alive I’d be in charge of New York by now” (Miller 14). As a result, Willy often ignores his troubles and denies any financial trouble when he says “business is bad, it’s murderous. But not for me of course” (Miller 51). Another false segment of Willy’s dream includes the success of his two sons Happy and Biff. Biff was a high school football star who never cared about academics and now that he needs a job says “screw the business world” (Miller 61). Ironically, Willy suggests that Biff go west an “be a carpenter, or a cowboy, enjoy yourself!”, an idea that perhaps Willy should have pursued. Constantly advising his boys of the importance of being well liked, Willy fails to stress academics as an important part of life (Miller 40). Furthermore, Willy dies an unexpected death that reveals important causes of the failure to achieve the American dream. At the funeral Linda cries “I made the last payment on the house today... and there’ll be nobody home” to say that she misses Willy but in essence his death freed the Lomans from debt and the hopes and expectations Willy placed on his family (Miller 139). Very few people attend
In his stage play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller introduces us to the family of Willy Lohan. There is greater influence of the parents to the children as is portrayed in the play. Willy Loman laxity has weighed heavily on the conduct of his sons, Happy and Biff. The main theme in the play is sustained in the play with the sons of Willy attaining their personality from their father. We learn that one’s upbringing shapes their behavior. The actions of those within one’s surrounding influence one’s behavior. This is quite evident in the case of a parent child interaction as portrayed in the play. Since most the time the child will look up to their parents, their ethical and
In the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy is both sympathized with and looked down upon throughout the story. Willy is a very complex character with problems and faults that gain both sympathy and also turn the reader off to him. Willy Loman is both the protagonist and the antagonist, gaining sympathy from the reader only to lose it moments later.
While the play primarily focuses on Willy’s dream, Death of a Salesman also observes Biff and his American Dream, which may be construed as the “right” one. Compared to his father’s, Biff’s dream is a simple one: own a ranch and labor in the countryside close to nature, happy and content. And yet as his father increasingly pressures him to pursue a dream more aligned to his own, Biff experiences an identity crisis of sorts, desperately seeking to please Willy by taking a job in business but always failing in his efforts. Eventually, he realizes that he cannot be his father, and, at Willy’s funeral, contrasts his earlier statement regarding Willy’s state of mind with one regarding his own person: “I know who I am, kid” (Miller 111). Though at the start of the play it was Willy who thought Biff lost, it is now the reverse. Willy, with his aspirations for renown and major success, found himself perpetually adrift in the world, struggling to make ends meet and maintain his family ties. And yet while Willy suffered at the hands of his American Dream, Biff prospered (although not monetarily) in his “proper” American Dream, experiencing true contentment in his craft. While Willy faced constant confusion and an almost bipolar personality disorder owing to his erroneous endeavors, Biff’s main insecurities and difficulties were those brought on by his father’s notion of success. In other words, Willy’s American Dream caused nothing but suffering for him and those he loved, while Biff’s American Dream would have allowed him peace of mind had it not been for his
The relationship sons have with their fathers is of tremendous importance as a boy grows into adulthood and matures, overall their relationship has an impact in every aspect of the child’s life from birth all the way into their adult life. In Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman’s relationship with his sons, Biff and Happy Loman show the conflicts that stem from Willy’s parenting style and his outlook on life as a whole, which in turn shows the impact a sons relationship with his father can have on ones life. Willy Loman values that he has bestowed on his children have completely affected their lives in an extremely detrimental way. Since the boys were young Willy has always brought up the importance of being “[not] liked but well liked”(20). He raised Biff and Happy to believe that as long as you are ‘well known and well liked’ that success will come easily.
Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, delves into the impossibilities of the American Dream and the expectations of family. Ambitious and stubborn, Willy Loman fathers two boys, the lost, Biff, and the neglected, Happy, with his wife, Linda. The Loman familial relationships will forever continue to reminisce throughout society and extending in present and past life and literature. From the beginning of history, women generally receive worse treatment than men because they are seen as inferior. In Death of a Salesman, Linda offers to “make a big breakfast” for Willy, only to be interrupted by his demand “to let [him] finish,” even though Linda never interrupted him in the beginning; and, though Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was first
In the play “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller Biff and his father Willy Loman have a very strange and hateful relationship with each other. Biff and Willy do not get along very well. Whenever they try to talk, one just ends up screaming and it turns out to a fight. Willy had a dream of becoming successful, and when his dream had failed he only had his older son Biff to try to become successful, but Biff is very unsettled and is not very successful just as Willy is. Biff and Willy do not get along very well, and they were both very unsuccessful, every time they talk it turns into a fight.
Ben, Willy’s older brother, believes that his American dream was that he started out with little, and ended up being very successful. It is ironic, because Ben brags that he came out of the African jungle a rich man, so he did not necessarily achieve the American dream, since his wealth began in Africa. Although Ben is not alive anymore, he frequently appears in Willy’s dream and can be considered as a symbol of the success that Willy desires. Another character who struggles with trying to pursue the American Dream is Happy, Willy’s youngest son. Happy possesses many of the same traits as Willy and lives the lie of the American Dream. Happy shows many signs of delusion, even believing that he is in a higher position in his store than he really is. Another character, Biff, the oldest son, also struggles with the idea of the American Dream. Biff’s main struggle throughout the play is between pleasing his father or pleasing himself. Willy wants Biff to inherit his world of sales, but Biff finds himself happier outdoors and is a farmhand. At the end of the day, Biff realizes that his happiness is more important than being rich and achieving the American dream. He returns to the farm where he makes less than $35 a week and does manual labor. Biff can also be considered a relatable character because he redefined his version of the American dream.
Willy’s relationship with Biff and Happy also becomes strained throughout their lives. Since Biff was the older son and football star he made his father proud, and Happy was left without the praise that he needed and deserved, as he was always second best. Biff also was the one who caught his father having an affair with a woman in Boston, causing friction between himself and Willy. More importantly, Biff is extremely disturbed by his father's later behavior, including participating in imaginary conversations and reacting to his memories as though they were happening in the present. Willy's job also falls apart from the beginning of the play towards the end. Willy had been making enough money to support his family, but his unwillingness to learn new sales techniques or utilize modern technology resulted in lackluster sales and the loss of his job. Willy’s house had a mortgage until his death, implying that the family was not even secure in their own home. Finally, the family car, a symbol of pride within the Loman household, was destroyed when Willy committed suicide. This was the last example of Willy's destruction of all that was once important to him. Willy Loman, in this regard, follows Aristotle's suggestion that the tragic hero has "...a change of fortune... from prosperity to misfortune...." (Aristotle,1303)