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Father-Son Relationships In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

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Great authors use characterization to further develop a character. In Arthur Miller’s play, “Death of a Salesman”, an old salesman named Willy pressures his eldest son, Biff, to become a successful businessman. Through the different father-son relationships, Willy’s character develops. In the play, Arthur Miller portrays father-son relationships as detrimental to one’s success by characterizing Willy as desperate, demanding, and difficult. Miller’s use of characterization in the play shows how the absence of Willy’s father affected him. Willy visits with his long lost brother Ben, reminiscing on their childhood. Willy, knowing that his father left his family when he was only a young boy, becomes obsessed with the idea of his father. Willy’s father abandoned his family when Ben and Willy were children and all Willy remembers “is a man with a big beard, and I was in Mamma’s lap, sitting around a fire, and some kind of high music” (203). Even though his father left, Willy has a positive memory of his father, idolizing him. Through Willy’s idolization of his dad, he begins to develop false hope of having a relationship with his dad. Begging Ben to “please tell about dad”, Willy becomes characterized as someone who obsesses with the past and unable to remain in the present (203). After Willy begs Ben to tell him more about their dad, Ben continues to tell him about the admirable characteristics of his dad, who also made flutes “more than a man like you could make in a lifetime”
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