Death of a Salesman
Sentimental Intertextuality Between Salesman and The Kite Runner
There are numerous similarities between Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. However, most of the similarities readers identify are only surface deep, and essentially superficial. Sure, readers know that both Willy and Amir made decisions that they regret and wish they could reevaluate, and eventually said decisions shaped their respective lives, but it’s the job of the readers, and my job as a writer to delve deeper into the obvious similarities and go fearlessly into the layers that lie beneath. Usually when a character regrets a decision or action, it’s because they said the wrong thing at the wrong time. For Willy and Amir, though, their regret lies with the fact that they chose to say nothing. From this silence springs the major similarities of the texts: the succession of fear, guilt, and self-loathing Willy and Amir felt, produced by the prioritization of family.
Willy and Amir prioritize family over almost every aspect of their lives. For Willy, he prioritized Biff’s athletic ability, and Amir put his father before his friendship. In doing so, both characters make their most critical and pivotal mistakes. To Willy, the only member of his family that is worth anything is Biff. He hardly acknowledges Hap or Linda, and when he does, it is in fits of rage. Willy shouts at Linda when she speaks, asking “will you stop [interrupting]?” It’s obvious that there is very little affection left in Willy’s and Linda’s marriage, which Willy takes advantage of by having an affair. When Biff finds out about the affair, Willy becomes fearful that it will alter Biff’s image of him. A motif in Miller’s play is Willy worrying about being “well liked,” therefore the thought of Biff —his true pride and joy— not liking his own father strikes fear into Willy, which ultimately causes his behavior to become erratic, ending in a tragic suicide. Amir also struggles with his family and his prioritization of them. He holds Baba’s image of him in such high regards that he says “…the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last,” (Hosseini 66) insinuating that the only way he can be happy is if he pleases Baba. Even after winning the kite tournament, Amir doesn’t feel adequately loved. He still feels as though he is vying for his father’s love with Hassan, so Amir plants the watch under Hassan’s bed. Although Amir is not caught in the act the way Willy was caught by Biff, Baba’s perception of Amir changed, which went against Amir’s attempts at gaining his father’s love and respect. Willy and Amir put too much merit into how their loved one’s perceive them, and when their families no longer see them in the light the main characters want, they begin to act out of fear. Their initial fear is what drives their respective works forward and presents us with the major conflicts.
After the fear completely engulfs Willy and Amir, they begin to feel guilt rising up within them. Willy feels guilty about Biff witnessing his infidelity, though he may not show it in conventional terms. The flashback Willy has in the bathroom of the restaurant on page 1503 to 1505 of Death of A Salesman shows his obvious guilt because he continues to replay the scene in his head over and over again. When Ali and Hassan refuse to continue service for Amir’s family, Amir tells us that, “…I saw Baba do something I had never seen him do before: He cried…Fathers weren’t supposed to cry. “Please,”…I’ll never forget the way Baba said that, the pain in his plea, the fear” (Hosseini 107). Amir feels guilty for inadvertently Ali and Hassan leave and seeing his father cry, because he can detect fear in his father’s voice; the same fear he felt when he thought that he and Hassan were competing for Baba’s love. Amir knows the emotion coursing through his father, and because he thinks so highly of him, feels guilty for putting his father in such a position. The guilt follows both Willy and Amir for years to come. The guilt in both Willy and Amir trigger their need to right the wrongs they have committed. In Willy’s eyes, the best way to absolve himself is to kill himself. Now, not only is his family free of his violent tendencies and antics, but they may also receive life insurance money to help them through their momentary poverty. For Amir, he comes to peace with his life and with Hassan by giving Sohrab the life Hassan deserved.
Before the guilt is eradicated from either character, a feeling of self-loathing is present within them. Willy’s self-loathing presents itself in the form of suicidal tendencies, proven on page —— of Death of a Salesman when Linda finds the “little rubber pipe…connected to the gas heater.” Willy is trying to kill himself via asphyxiation because of the self-loathing due to his increasing delusion, yet also because of the guilt he feels from being fired from his job and not being able to support his family the way he once could. Amir experiences self-loathing from a young age, and it slowly eats away at him until his adulthood. He overhears Baba say, “Sometimes I look out this window and I see him playing on the street with the neighborhood boys. I see how they push him around, take his toys from him, give him a shove here, a whack there. And, you know, he never fights back. Never. He just… drops his head and…” (Hosseini 22), which instills within him the notion that he is a coward. And because he holds his father’s opinion and perception of his in such high regards, Amir completely convinces himself that he is, and will always be a coward. The self-loathing that each character feels is product of their families’ reactions to their actions, and is perhaps the biggest emotional similarity shared between the two works.
Fear and guilt are two of the more powerful emotions on the spectrum, and self-loathing can derail even the most powerful and confident people if it is based on the feeling of inadequacy. Both Willy and Amir feel as though they are failures in their families’ eyes. Willy can no longer provide for his family and is caught in the middle of an affair by his son, both which change Biff’s view of Willy. Amir is a coward and shares no similar traits with his father, which makes him feel inadequate and unloved. Both Willy and Amir worry far too much about how their families perceive them, that they both begin to act out of fear of losing their family, instead of the love they have for them.
The Theme Of Happiness In American Beauty, Death Of A Salesman, The Great Gatsby And Revolutionary Road
Happiness can be defined in many different ways and is based on perception. In the eyes of every individual, the pursuit of happiness has a greater meaning where many of the characters try to find it in their own manner. People disguise their own happiness as an escape from reality and for a major part of people, materialism blindly robs you of your happiness. The Death of a Salesman, a play written by Arthur Miller, American Beauty, a film directed by Sam Mendes, The Great Gatsby a film directed by Baz Luhrmann and novel Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. In society today there are individuals who struggle with depression from within but wear a mask, disguising their true self with a false image. Their happiness is like an illusion that they create from themselves where the reality does not exist in their world. We all have a point in life where true happiness comes and goes but it is a common struggle to define the meaning as many of the characters in the four texts attempt to live in other people’s reality in regards to society today. Individuals who feel like this don’t really know or like themselves that they need to please other people rather than please themselves because they don’t really know who they are.
People disguise their own happiness as an escape from reality where the false image creates a deception. Some individuals give up their own happiness to please other people due to society. We’ve evolved to be emotionally sensitive to social disapproval. It provokes a cocktail of feelings that includes various proportions of fear, embarrassment, shame, and guilt. So, we tend to avoid pursuing personal desires that conflict with group expectations.
American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes is a film that portrays the theme of Happiness as a goal, as a mask and disguise. All of the characters in this text are involved in the pursuit of happiness, although they have very different ideas about what happiness is and how it is discovered for themselves. A character that disguises their happiness and reality is Carolyn Burnham, the wife of Lester Burnham. The character of Carolyn Burnham represents the commonly-held belief that happiness is about perception, she’s happy if others think she is. She is extremely concerned as to what people think of her, especially when it comes to her career life. Carolyn’s job as a real estate is always first over everything, and her marriage turns into a facade. As she works, she chants “I will sell this house today” over and over again. She listens to self-help tapes and repeats phrases from motivational speeches to give an “image of success”. When a sale of the house seems hopeless, she still carries a bright a positive belief to display for each new home showing. When she couldn’t sell the house after 5 couples came and we see her break down, “Shut up. Stop it. You… Weak! You baby!.” She doesn’t allow herself the luxury of giving in to her emotions through and slaps herself until the tears stop. At one point she explains, “…my business is selling an image. And part of my job is to live that image.”
Despite her insecurities and compulsions with her appearance, she finds a bit of fun when she sees her husband cutting loose and having no care about everything. The more Lester becomes pleased with his new life, the more Carolyn angrier and struggles against him and his attitude. He tries to bring them back to a time when they were young and they could laugh about life. Lester who has believes that this is as well still in Carolyn but she feels that Lester tries to undermine her position and backs away from him, building up even more loath. Confused by her husband’s new perception in life, Carolyn’s choices and her mindset changes when she sparks a relationship with a professional real estate rival, Buddy Kane. Mendes illustrated through Carolyn that looks can be deceiving. Having been married for about 20 years, Carolyn and Lester have drifted apart in their marriage throughout their time spent with one another. They try to keep their image of a perfect family and family, especially Carolyn but fail as the facade crumbles up to the last closing scenes.
The character of Lester Burnham finds his way through true happiness where his life improves for the better. He got in shape, changed his work situation, improved his well-being, and re-discovered the pleasures that he had long desired for. He finds his true happiness when he looks at his family picture but it was too late to do anything when he was shot in the head by Colonel Fitts. All these are realities in today’s society but are not often portrayed in this way. The conclusions I can make from this text in regards of my theme statement is that we live live our daily routines every single day without realizing that this life is just a temporary state. American Beauty tells how life is short and you should make the best of it, don’t get caught up in whatever society deems proper. Instead do what it takes to find happiness and be happy. Life is short and we all end up dead sooner or later, so we might as well enjoy the time we have left in the world.
Similarly, the play Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller deals with the protagonist Willy Loman trying to find happiness in someone else’s reality and dream. Arthur Miller introduces us to the main character, Willy Loman, an old salesman living through depression of America and is rather an ordinary man. The theme statement of “People disguise their own happiness as an escape from reality where the false image creates a deception,” relates to this text where Willy’s idea of happiness is similar to American Beauty. Willy Loman is an insecure, self-deluded salesman. Willy lives a life of misconception as he thinks the key to happiness is to be successful and judged by his appearance. He believes in the American Dream of success and wealth, but he never achieves it. Willy’s illusions about success impacted every part of his son’s lives. This is shown in the quote “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been.” This is Biff coming to a conclusion with the fact that his father’s illusions of success were just a facade. Biff has spent his life trying to live up to an impossible falsehood vision of himself that never existed. “I’ve got to get some seeds. I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the group.” This is Willy realizing that his whole career has built up to nothing. He worked for 40 years and has nothing to show for it.
A character from American Beauty that shows false happiness is Lester Burnham. Lester thinks he can find happiness through re-living the menacer of his youth and not caring of his success in life while Willy thinks he can find happiness through only success and his appearance to everyone. The characters dreams are different but some of them are able to find false happiness. This is shown with Willy when he loses his job. Willy is so consumed by the idea of his philosophy that even though he is failing he convinces that he is successful. As with Lester, he quits his job and blackmails his boss into paying him money. This shows how both characters dreams are different but their goals in for a false happy life are extremely similar. Instead of finding his own key, he makes up a reality in which he pretends to be happy. By failing to discover your own personal and realistic dreams, you simply cannot be truly happy with life. Willy contradicts himself by saying that he is well-liked by others and frequently deceives himself about his success and wealth. The character gets trapped in the false image he has created, believing the lies he has been telling himself and to others for years. Regarding my theme statement, the character Willy Loman gives a false image towards everyone including his family and himself. His pride in being liked by everyone was the only thing that mattered in his reality although he didn’t realize it himself that he has created a lie because he started to believe in his dream.
The novel, Revolutionary Road was written by Richard Yates focuses on the characters Frank and April Wheeler where they have fallen into a life that appears to most as being perfect. The text American Beauty and Revolutionary road are very similar as the lives of the Burnhams and the Wheelers create a deception to themselves and others. In Revolutionary Road, the Wheelers live in the suburbs with two young children. The society sees them as beautiful, successful and charismatic couple but the reality is nowhere near to that.
Frank Wheeler commutes to New York City where he works in an office job at a printing company while his wife April stays home as a housewife. As the novel continues, the writer tells the readers that the couple are not happy as they seem to the outside world. April is a failed actress and Frank hates his job although he has never figured out what his passion in life is. “Now you’ve said it. The hopeless emptiness. Hell, plenty of people are on to the emptiness part; out where I used to work, on the Coast, that’s all we ever talked about. We’d sit around talking about emptiness all night.” He felt as if he were sinking helplessly into the cushions and the papers and the bodies of his children like a man in quicksand. When things take a turn in the novel, April decides she will do whatever she has to to get herself out of her unhappy existence. This is what happens to most of us. Being trapped in relationships we don’t want but has to live in them because there are no better alternatives. The change is the most fascinating thing and at the same time, it is the most difficult thing. Change is not easy.It is good in our dreams but when coming to action its most difficult task to accomplish it.
At the start of the movie main protagonist, Frank wants to go to his dream country to start his passion on the advice of his wife. His wife advised this because she also just want to release from the monotonous clutches of life by shifting to another country. When April finds out she is pregnant with her third child she attempts at abortion and intense fights lead to her committing suicide where her pregnancy is a big barrier to her escape. American Beauty develops around a married couple who appear normal, who try to act happy and are neither of those things. It’s another story of a marriage falling apart, another warning that one day you might wake up and out of nowhere realize how miserable you are. They’ve endured a thankless marriage for years, and are bored with their suffering. Both stories spiral toward tragedy due to miscommunication and discontent or maybe inevitability. The novel, Revolutionary Road concerns itself with the exploration of the prison we find ourselves in, the jail which society and culture demands of us to be confined in. One of the biggest challenges in life is trying to be yourself in a world that is wanting you to be like everyone else.
For a major part of people, materialism blindly robs you of your happiness. People use materialism as a means to fill a cognitive void in their life. When people feel they are lacking something in their lives, they try to replace it with material possessions. What often happens is that people get a temporary boost of happiness from a particular product but the amusement and contentment tend to fade with time as they adapt to having it over time.
In the film, The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann most of the characters use materialism as a way for happiness but it is only temporary. The character Jay Gatsby devotes his adult life trying to recapture his past but dies in its pursuit before he could accomplish his dream of having Daisy’s heart. In the past, Gatsby had a love interest with a young rich girl, Daisy. Daisy and Jay had fallen in love with each other even though they knew that they could not marry because of the difference in their social status. For the first time in his life, Jay Gatsby was truly happy with her. During their romantic love for each other, Jay was sent off to war. When he returns from the war, Jay found out that Daisy had married a wealthy man by the name of Tom Buchanan. Jay then spends his life achieving wealth to reach her economic standards, in hope that he can rekindle their relationship of happiness that he once had. His love for Daisy was impossible in society because “he was at present a penniless young man without a past he had no comfortable family standing behind him” He knew that at that time a relationship of love was impossible with Daisy due to his low social standing. Gatsby became determined to rapture that gap between them. Gatsby is convinced that the more money he makes, the greater the chance his enticement to Daisy will increase. He believes that she will love him based on his money that’s why he buys his huge mansion across from her.
In Nick Carraway’s narration, he says “Five lost years struggled on Daisy’s lips. But all she could manage was, ‘It’s just… because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts before.’ Nick witnesses the heartbreak in Daisy’s face as she admires Gatsby’s shirts. He says that while Daisy has so much to express to Gatsby after five years of having been separated, she can only comment on his many expensive shirts. After five years of yearning, her longing is now changing into a deep sadness as she realizes what she and Jay could have been had things been different. The shirts only make everything more tragic and become symbols of her longing for Gatsby and his newfound wealth. She could not have married him five years earlier, because he was poor and their difference in social status. Now, however, he is a wealthy man, as represented by his shirts, and she can more easily imagine being in his life. Wealth is not the most important factors in our lives. It does not bring anyone happiness or love. Gatsby could not use money to buy Daisy’s love. Also, although Gatsby knows many important people after he dies only a few people come to his funeral.
The theme statement of how materialism blindly robs you of your happiness is shown in the film American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes. The directors of The Great Gatsby and American Beauty both explain in their texts that the pursuit of the American Dream is futile. Attaining the American Dream required a perfect house, family, career, and life but this is completing impossible for everyone. Mendes uses the character of Carolyn to show the superficiality of this society. Carolyn is deliberately made a real-estate agent, a job she claims to “sell an image.“ She presents herself as having attained the dream through the clothes she wears, but it’s all a facade. The Burnham’s household is placed perfectly in an upmarket suburban neighborhood. The fact that the house is continuously in perfect condition creates the feeling that it is more like an open home rather than a comfortable family residence. Lester shuns Carolyn fixations on possessions, saying to his wife, “This isn’t life. This is stuff. And it’s become more important to you than living.” The emptiness of their home mirrors the emptiness of their lives, which reflect the emotional poverty that has befallen the Burnham’s due to Carolyn aspiring to things that will never fulfill her. Carolyn has fallen into the trap of believing that “In order to be successful one must project an image of success at all times,” which means that she prioritizes her work over her relationship with her daughter and husband. Material accumulation is what she views as a means to be happy. Carolyn is used as an important symbol and is a character which represents capitalism and consumerism as she strives for success and wealth. She is obsessed with projecting a positive and successful image to her neighbors and others around her. “Lester you’re going to spill beer on the couch.” Lester replies that it’s just a couch.” However to Carolyn “It’s not just a couch, it’s a four thousand dollar sofa upholstered in Italian silk.” We see that Carolyn values material objects as part of a false image she projects to other. The fact that Carolyn is willing to tarnish such a rare moment of intimacy with her husband for something as superficial as a coach proves the distressing extent of her materialism. She is obsessed with, material possessions. At the beginning of the film The Great Gatsby, Luhrmann makes us believe that Gatsby has achieved his dream but throughout the course of the film, we see Gatsby as more and more deluded. He believes that Daisy will eventually win her heart based on his money. The director criticises the way materialism makes people yearn for unattainable goals.
American Beauty, Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby and Revolutionary Road are all texts that show the theme of Happiness in different aspects in their own significant way. People disguise their own happiness as an escape from reality and for a major part of people, materialism blindly robs you of your happiness.
A Theme Of Following A False Hope In Arthur Miller’s The Death Of A Salesman
Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman is story of the American Dream and how it is a prime example humanity misinterpreting what a perfect life is. Miller uses Willy as an example of a tragic hero doesn’t have to be perfect or the good life, when in fact it can be just a common man trying to make a living. This makes the story of Willy and his sad downfall more real towards the viewer, when they could almost compare the job and the sort of lifestyle to that era in the United States. Often people cover up their mistakes with lies and deceit yet expect to achieve their goals without any problems. Throughout the story the reader can follow the unfortunate demise of both the salesman and his son. These two characters exhibit flaws that become apparent throughout the play as Biff grows into an adult. Whether his personality traits developed as a result of his own nature or as a product of Willy’s parenting has been a point of contention for many audiences.
It is crucial to understand Arthur Miller Life and upbringing to clearly view his perspective in his plays. Born in 1915 in New York City, as a child Miller knew not that much about delinquency. In the streets of New York in 1957 would spend his time talking to sociologist, and psychiatrists hoping to write about juvenile delinquency as he states in an interview done with Richard Evans. Miller’s research on Juvenile delinquency can pay a great role in his creation of the character Biff, who is a delinquent himself as a child. It can also be mentioned that Miller had a son with down syndrome, this can be a connection to willy that Miller had. His understanding of parenting an autistic child gave him an understanding on parenting, and a perspective on mental health. The Death of a Salesman is a story that splices the play in the present and past, focusing on main character Willy Loman. Willy Loman, a salesman who just returned from a business trip is surprised to see that his sons came to visit him from out of town. It is very important to note that Willy has been having trouble with driving correctly and is starting to talk to himself more often than usual. Willy recently was just demoted from his job, with all the stress he begins to hallucinate, about his past. In the hallucination he talks to his deceased brother Ben, about how he got his fortune in the diamond mining industry. Throughout the story Biff can be seen looking distraught about his father ending up the way he did. While Happy, Biffs brother, always knew that his father talked to himself but not to an extent that Willy has taken it. By the end of the story the two sons leave their father at the restaurant by himself.
A careful reading can show that it is the one part of Willy, Biff’s father, and his poor parenting that leads to Biff’s poor character traits as shown in his Flashbacks depicted throughout the play. Miller’s purpose for including the flashbacks was to show that his family meant a lot to him, also using the flashbacks for character development. It added towards representing Willy’s sanity and showing the overall disillusionment he was going through. One of Willie’s flashbacks in Scene three act two is very important because it takes place in the past completely. This scene pays homage to the overall theme of pride with his children absolutely worshiping him, the viewer can tell that Willie holds this memory close to his heart. Willy believes in this memory that he is living the American Dream, everything he says in this memory is perfect. In his Biff and Happy’s eyes hero, Biff says towards the end of the scene “This Saturday, Pop, this Saturday -just for you, I’m going to breakthrough a touchdown.” This type of behavior of constantly having constant episodes in him reliving his past, or his rapid outbursts that randomly happen.
An important scene to note in this play can be seen during an incident that happens in one of Willy’s flashbacks. Scene ten begins in a hotel room and Willy can be seen with another woman and is caught by Biff, who calls Willy a “liar” and “phony little fake”. This event can be considered the moment that Biff loses all respect for his father, all of Biffs thought of his father being perfect is sent right downhill. This plays a major role in the hatred that Biff holds against his father, who throughout the play constantly uses his wife as a sort of punching bag. It should be known that Arthur Miller left his first wife whom he had two children with, this could play a role in his character development for Willy.
Another key moment in this play is during thirteen, in an interaction both Willy and Biff break. As an argument commences as Biff attempts to leave his Fathers residence, as Biff leans in for a hand shake Willy refuses and exclaims “May you rot in hell if you leave this house!”, pushing Biff to confront Willy and his attempt at suicide. (Biff is worn out from constantly feeding his father’s disorder, bringing out a rubber hose that his father tried using to commit suicide. Biff bring the rubber hose not only faces Willy with reality of his intention that he is hiding but crushing his dream of Willy’s suicide to redeem himself for what he has done.
In conclusion, by finally ending his life Willy faces the truth that all of what he dreamed and hoped for was for nothing. Giving the viewer a scary reality of how following a false hope or an American dream, the outcome may be scarier than the thoughts. During the requiem Willy’s funeral is held, but there is nobody there for him only his wife and sons. It was Willy in the end who found out that not everybody wins in the game of life. Even if all the odds are stacked against you, there is no such thing as hope in reality.
Reconciliation With The Past In Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman
Have you ever felt compelled to reconcile your past uncertainties and worries with new or present situations in the pursuit of a meaningful life? Or in the case of Death of a Salesman, a pursuit of the American Dream. In Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”, Willy Loman, the protagonist, is a salesman blindsided by his constructed ideals of society. The self-delusion indirectly affects him and his surroundings including the people around him. Willy’s misconception affects the standards of a meaningful life that he has created throughout his life. These norms guide him towards his accentuated view of who he is and what he wants to achieve, subsequently negatively influencing his eldest son Biff Loman, and adding stress towards himself. In this play, the distinctness between the two characters and their contrasted sense of reassurance describes how past uncertainties in their lives are comprehended and this in result drives the story. Arthur Miller depicts that individuals indeed birth ideals when faced with the exigency to reconcile their past, and that causes further uncertainties that one must find a solution to.
Willy Loman was an unsuccessful salesman who was once revered by the people around him. At the beginning of the play it is evident that he is unable to dictate the way his life progresses, and so he consistently rebuts himself to establish that no matter what, he is correct and his opinion is accepted. These multiple contradictions portray that Willy is indeed fretful of the possibility that he will receive negative comments and judgments. Willy has consciously constructed ideals that suggest looks go a long way to determine the success of your future and advises his sons that they should be “well liked” and “liked and (they) will never want”. Willy recalls the time when his sons, Biff Loman and Happy Loman were outside cleaning his car, the Chevy. Willy enlightens Biff and Happy on how financially successful his business trips have been. He elaborates that due to the admiration towards him he does not have to wait in lines. Willy interprets having people “remember” him as the ultimate satisfaction, as he claims to his sons “they know me up and down New England” and “I have friends” Ultimately, teaching his sons that being liked by others is the way to fulfilling one’s life and removing all worries. Albeit Willy is a hardworking man, these ideals, that one does not need to work for success demonstrate Willy’s deluded belief of achieving a meaningful life from the admiration and acceptance of others and is proven false when no one except the members of his family arrive at his funeral. Willy constantly attempts to gain other people’s acceptance through hypocritical and mendacious stories which portray him in a bright light. Willy’s high lack of integrity seems to be influenced by Uncle Ben who “never fights fair”. In the past, he lies to his wife, Linda about his gross earnings of that week but in reality he receives the weekly sum from Charlie and Linda being aware of his financial issues keeps his caught lie to herself. Linda serves as protection from the harsh realities of modern day world through constantly lying to him and maintaining his pride in himself. Willy Loman is portrayed as a protagonist who inevitably destroys himself figuratively and literally to maintain his sense of dignity and to gain his “rightful” place in society.
Biff Loman, on the other hand highly contrasts Willy’s Ideology of a purposeful and meaningful life and that is because Biff is certain on his morals and values to maintain a meaningful life and understands that he is indeed a “dime a dozen”. Biff, priory, immersed in his father’s ideals, comes to a revelation that his father is lying about the events in Boston. He arrives in Boston to consult his father only to find Willy Loman with another woman indulging himself in an unsanctioned romance. Biff is heartbroken and exclaims and describes his father of being a “fake” and a “phony”. From the point forward, Biff is a persistent disappointment to his father, switching from job to job and ending up in jail. Biff being nurtured to receive consistent compliments, and being a popular football player brimming with confidence, he is conditioned to believe that he was capable of anything and the world was his. This gradually increased and then suddenly deteriorated when he failed his math class and came to realize that his father had been filling him with false hope. He then becomes uncertain of his identity and decides to return home inevitably realizing “what a whole lie (his) life has been”. This affects him in such an extreme way that he falls back on his father’s ideals.
Biff, unlike Willy comes to self-realization that his happiness comes from being outside, working with his hands, and he is not bothered that no money comes out of it. When Biff decides to partake in attaining immediate success he plans to talk with Bill Oliver and ask him for fifteen thousand dollars. Willy assures him that he was “well liked” by Bill and that there’s no possibility of getting rejected. When Biff arrives at the restaurant, he discloses that he stole Bill Oliver’s fountain pen. He comes to the realization that he was not made for business; “men like (him) are meant to work outside” with their hands. This incident reminds Biff that the only acceptance he needs is his own acceptance. Biff reconciles with his past by taking action which them brings him prosperity and a sense of pride.
Biff and Willy Loman’s contradicting ideologies to gain acceptance from the people around him demonstrates that only when the individual truly commits to himself will he be able to reconcile his past with a new or present situation. Arthur Miller’s utilization of this character foil and the end result that are produced due to each of their opposite actions portray how one may reconcile with their past. Human nature and its strong desire to gain acceptance from their surroundings leads to the individual constructing ideals and standards whether it be societal norms or a perceived view of one person. One can come to the conclusion that the importance of accepting one’s reality or making a decision to reconcile is grave. Ultimately, Death of a Salesman demonstrates to the reader that the only way to reconcile their pasts in the pursuit of a meaningful life is to accept the situation for what it is and make a choice on how to counteract it.
What is Arthur Miller trying to say about the American Dream in Death of a Salesman?
Death of salesman by Arthur Miller can into play in 1949, a period following the Great Depression and the Wall Street Crash with aim portraying themes in success and failures. They are many symbols in the play representing Willy’s failures and success attempts such as the tape recorder, apartment building, seeds from the garden and Willy’s brother Ben. Some of the themes portrayed by Death of Salesman are family, respect, business success and financial success. Early in playing, Willy is having some emotional issues which are causing hear to have conversation with ben a dead brother. Willy had also a wife named Linda, and two sons Biff and Happy with neither one living up to the dream he wished for them. When young and strong, Willy was striving to achieve success like his father who was an entrepreneur by making wooden flutes. In the play, Willy’s father success is portrayed by the use of flute melody and the actual melody of grass and trees differentiated the life Willy lived while young and the one he is living at his old age while working for someone in an overcrowded area in New York. This essay will focus on the theme striving for an American dream.
The dream of being successful vendor was the American dream in the 1900’s and the society to achieve it. Willy, at the age 63 years in the beginning of the play was fixated and captivated by the American Dream observed from his flashback and character inclusion from his past. He pictured how much better life ought to and could be with a proud family. For more than thirty years Willy Loman strived for his American dream to become a wealthy salesman with failed miserably in reality unlike his idol Dave Singleman who made fortune easily. Some of the reason Miller illustrate that lead to fail of Willy American dream was his individual connection and impression was not a guarantee for any financial success. This appeared to remark on the idea of American culture and how it is changing becoming insecure. Through flash backs Willy even tries disclose to his sons on how to be fruitful in America by arguing that the man who gets ahead is the one who creates personal interest and make appearance in business world. In early days, Willy believed to have reached peak of his American Dream since he personally took interest in his business and was well liked but contrary his fellow salesmen mocked him behind his back and allover sudden he could see his material wealth crumble. Willy’s unsteadiness in his personal life was a reflection of society he was born that believed to be respected, and have solid identity you need material possessions and financial wealth. Miller also portrays how customers do not like Willy bring the idea of how modern American society is machine based with material thing breaking down the personal relations in people. For instance, charley who is Willy neighbor is a respected person due to his economic success which is enabling him to control other people. The absence of the products that willy sells also demonstrate the reality of personal instability where American dream is shifting into vague idea of associating success with object instead of personality and human interaction which matters most.
The idea of striving to achieve American dream faced betray and abandonment which has led to its failure. Willy father left him at young age leaving him with ben his older brother. Afterwards, ben also left to Alaska with led Willy to losing himself and his pursuit to American dream. Due to the abandonment in early age, Willy feared that his family goals and try to conform to his American dream although he failed. Biff the oldest son of Willy also left home without informing his father of whereabouts made Willy felt betrayed by one of his dream. During biff childhood, Willy work hard to ensure his son achieved his own dream and with biffs prolonged absence shattered his father’s dream at multiple times. Constantly, when Biff was back home endeavoring to get himself , Willy trusted Biff was into something extraordinary when he went to speak with Mr. Oliver only for his dream to be failed by Biff whom together with his brother Happy forsake their father in a restroom. Also Willy’s wife Linda betrays her husband by staying along at home while he is traveling throughout northeaster United State chasing his American dream for his family. Linda is also abandoned by his sons alone after they grew up and moved out. Due to loneliness Willy experience as a result of being betrayed by his family while chasing the American dream, he is involved in an affair with a woman he met in a Boston hotel. Biff after realizing about his father affair he feels ashamed of him to the extent of distancing himself from his father with made him change his characters and rebel against those in authority. During the play willy is telling his wife how paying house off with no one living in it and during Willy funeral Linda says how she made last payment for the house thus proving trying to live American dreams has also consequences. Trying to live up to his American dream and sacrificing himself, he never reaps the benefit of his labor yet he abandoned and betrayed his wife.
Biff the son of Willy is portrayed as a personal pulled by different dreams one of his own involving nature and working for his own and the other one involving his father’s field of business and capitalism. He is portrayed as a person with inner conflicts which are hindering him from achieving his right American dream. In the play, Biff say to his brother how if pleasing working in a ranch There’s nothing more inspiring or beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it’s cool there now, see? Texas is cool now, and its spring (Bradford, 2018). At the end biff acknowledges how his father was good in hand’s work and suggest that his father should have pursed other dreams such a carpenter instead chasing multitude dreams such as selling unidentified products which failed his dream . With Biff realizing importance of following the right dreams, he swore not to follow his father’s dream but pursue his own which will involve old-fashioned manual labor because success should not be measure in material or wealth but in social norms.
Charlie, Willy’s neighbor who has an effective deal firm together with Linda are voice of reason in the play. Linda is the arbiter between his sons and husband thus bring the peace back to the family. The American dream of peaceful family is crumbled by disappointments between father and the sons who have not yet settled down at the age of thirty years. Linda acts as the defender of Willy whom she comprehends as worn out and pushed beyond limit while trying to achieve his dream. Linda beliefs freedom is escape from obligation and with aggregate material and riches that symbolizes achievement and stability in today society in order to fulfill the American dream. Linda is also internally conflicted due to Willy’s obsession with American dream although she figured out how to keep her emotional solidness unblemished. Linda with clarity foresees her husband end would be devastating. Charlie also has on few events endeavored to show Willy the way to success since he had already achieved his American dream evident by his successful firm. Despite the fact he does not care much for him, Charlie recognized Willy’s financial struggles and even offers him a job.
In order to achieve American believe, hard work is also essential as evident by Bernard who is a good Charlie’s son. Bernard was Biff friend during their child hood but he was hardworking which made him become a successful lawyer. Bernard at the end of play argues that it difficult to deal with success but for someone to realize their American dreams they have to maximize every opportunity they get. Uncle Ben maximized his opportunity in Africa and became rich and successful in diamond mines as a result of maximizing his opportunities.
To wind up, American dream was an idea where life would be better with opportunity for everyone with ability to achieve their goals. It is a dream that every woman and man will have the capacity to the greatest stature that they are characteristically prepared to do, to which they will be recognized by others for what they are regardless of the coincidental conditions realized by birth or social position. Unfortunately the dream today has turned into quest for material success resulting to individuals working excessively in order to achieve their dream. In this era, this dreams is evident by the capacity to buy homes and own cars which are material possession thus isolating the middle class from the poor to whom achieving the dream is impossible. Although traditional the dreams were achieved through hard work a lot has changed in the up rise of industrialization where people use elusive strategies to get richer faster. The death of sales has portrayed that American dream is not always successful it has also a negative side. The play has shown how common people usually suffer as compared to people in high status. For people to realize their dream they need to stop focusing on materializing as a way to measure success but also include social norms to help maximize potential.
Arthur Miller’s Depiction of Willy Loman as a Heroic Figure as Illustrated in His Play, Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller chose a Low-Man as his hero, because the queens and the kings don’t live anymore and writers can’t write about them. I think it’s great that Miller chose a person like Lowman to be his hero. Lowman is a regular person, he doesn’t have a high social status, and he’s just like anybody else.
Willie Loman was an unsuccessful salesman, nobody liked him and he was a disappointment to his sons. After the affair with another women, from admiring him and looking up to him, his son Biff turned his back on him and never saw him as a role model. This story is different from Shakespeare and other stories, because in those stories the characters were all high class, kings, and queens and in this story, the man is unrecognizable, unsuccessful man who lost all respect from everyone around him. Miller’s tragic hero Willie Loman causes his own downfall. Willie was making a mistake by being ignorant and ignoring the facts that everything was not okay when he thought it was. He was never been a successful salesman, but he saw an image of somebody else that he looked up to when he was growing up and he thought he was that person by putting false thoughts in his mind about himself. He was never that person, but he stayed ignorant and his delusions lead him to take his own life away.
Willie Loman is a modern common man. It’s very hard to compare Loman to Hamlet or Oedipus because the times are very different, but some comparisons can be made. Oedipus was delusional man just like Willie Loman. They both follow ‘’Wrong Dreams’’ and live in an image that they created themselves. Hamlet thinks that revenge will do something for his life, but his wrong thoughts end up killing him and nothing is achieved. I like how Willie Loman still tries to be positive, even though that ‘’positivity’’ kills him, but he still works and tries to provide for his family and pay off the mortgage. People don’t like him for his foolish pride. What really killed Willie was his foolish pride. When Charley offered him a steady paying job, Willie refuses, because he that would hurt his pride.
To be a hero today is not very easy. For some people, a hero is your father, like Willie Loman was a hero for Biff before he had an affair. My father is my hero, because he is a perfect example how a person should live a life. Even though nobody is perfect in this world, but I admire how my father is trying to teach me how to be a good person by trying. All the people make mistake and show you their bad side, but a hero to me is somebody who can learn from their mistakes and admit that they did it. Whatever it takes, you must be able to learn from them and not do them again. In the story ‘’Death of a Salesman’’ the delusion that Loman had ended up really bad for him. He didn’t wanted to admit that he was making mistakes and didn’t wanted to accept the change that was necessary to his life. A hero is somebody that tries to make people around you better and show them a good example by doing good things.
Arthur Miller’s Depiction of the Personality of Willy Loman As Shown In His Play, Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is a tragic play focusing on the common man during the late 1940’s. Much of the story is told by flashbacks of Willy Loman’s past, including him cheating on Linda, his wife. His older son, Biff, witnessed the affair and has not been the same ever since. Happy, the younger son, is not actually happy but he enjoys lying in order to get ahead. Willy teaches his sons that being popular and “well liked” is more important than having skills. A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgement error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction. The character Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an example of a tragic hero.
An example of a characteristic of a tragic hero is that the character must have a weakness. This applies to Willy Loman because he has several weaknesses, pride being the most evident. He has a false sense of his own importance and believes that he will die “the death of a salesman” with a crowded funeral, but instead dies pretty much alone (Miller 55). When Charley offers him a job, Willy turns it down because he feels that it may compromise his dignity. He is fine with getting hand outs but is too proud to accept Charley’s offer (Miller 26). He also constantly talks about being “well liked” and having friends (Miller 17).
Willy Loman represents the common working American man. Although he cheats on his wife and ruins his relationship with his sons, Willy suffers more than he deserves. Committing suicide is the way that he wants to redeem himself in their eyes, considering that his life insurance will leave them with twenty thousand dollars (Miller 39). His punishment, death, exceeds his crimes. Another way he suffers is when Howard refuses to move his work closer to home and then eventually fires him. Willy tells him that he “can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit” (Miller 55). By this, he means that the company cannot just fire its employees when they are too old and worn out to be of value to them. Willy has been with the company since the beginning, working for Howard’s father. The only reason that Howard kept him around was for his father.
This story definitely arouses fear and empathy from the audience. Willy’s biggest desire is to be noble and “well liked”, but he clearly never reaches that status. Throughout the play, it seems that he truly believes that he is popular, His death should raise fear in the common man, whom Willy symbolizes, because we can recognize similar possibilities of error in ourselves. He is a “low man”, struggling to succeed in the wrong way. His dream was never to be a businessman; that idea was planted into his head by his father. Being a salesman was wrong for him; he was always skilled at building things (Miller 26). The audience can understand Willy’s desire to be successful, well liked, and the value he sees in appearances (Miller 18). After all, “well liked” is probably the most common phrase in the entire play.
Willy discovers his fate by his own actions, not by things happening to him. He was essentially a product of society, chasing after material goods and the “American Dream”. Not only did Willy want to be rich, he also wanted to be popular among others. He lives in the past, which is characterized by the conversations between Willy and his deceased brother, Ben (Miller 27). Willy smashing up the car is mentioned several times throughout the play, leading the reader to believe that he has tried committing suicide before (Miller 7). He also inhales gas from a gas pipe, in an attempt to slowly kill himself (Miller 39). In the end, it is Willy’s own actions that lead to his death.
Finally, a tragic hero must be physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often resulting in death. Spiritually, Willy’s affair with The Woman plays a huge role in his downfall. He loves Linda, but The Woman plays along with Willy’s belief that he is more important than he really is. When Biff finds out about the affair, he is destroyed. While he used to be the star football player at his school, he has given that up and does not graduate from high school (Miller 84). Willy knows that the affair has caused a drift in his relationship with his family, and he even feels guilty that he can provide stockings for The Woman but not for his wife. Each time that Willy crashes his car or inhales gas, he is physically hurting himself. Eventually, the car leads to his death (Miller 98).
In conclusion, Willy’s main flaw is having too much pride. He suffers more than he deserves, his own actions lead to his downfall, and his story arouses fear and empathy. Due to all of these and his death, Willy is able to meet the criteria of Aristotle’s tragic hero. The character Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an example of a tragic hero.
How Pride is Willy’s Tragic Flaw in Death of a Salesman and how it is the central theme of the play
There is a reason why Willy Loman is considered as a tragic hero where a great deal of it has to with his pride. As a matter of fact, through the character of Willy, Arthur Miller is able to build the theme of pride around him with pride coming out as the main theme. The same theme of pride also helps in establishing other smaller themes such as the theme of legacy, change, and identity. In Death of a Salesman, pride as a way of self-deception as well as using it as a coping mechanism. Willy Loman comes out as being extremely pride despite the fact that the source of his pride is not in any way founded in reality. Steven Centola also demonstrates the theme of pride in Willy’s denial of reality and inability to accept the changes within himself and in the society. Looking at the two works, one can easily see that the identity that Willy ends up assuming is heavily built upon his false sense of pride which plays a huge role in almost all the decision that he takes. His unjustified pride goes a long way in preventing him from being able to learn from his mistakes and the changes taking place around him, an event that leads to his downfall.
While it is a good thing that Willy is a dreamer, part of his excessive arrogance and pride comes as a result of his unrelenting belief in his dreams. To him, his dreams are not only pristine but also absolute where they are free from any defects where nothing can be done to change his stand on his country or his dreams of what he wants to accomplish. As a matter of fact, will never excise any form of introspection of reflection in a bid to see things as they are and not how they ought to be. This state alone builds the premise for his pride. To start with, will never take the time to questions some of his beliefs and dreams. A good example is when he was having a conversation with Linda about the failures of Biff. It becomes clear that his belief in the American dream is unrelenting where he believes that the American dream is superior. Believing that there is nothing wrong with the American dream, will demonstrate a great sense of pride in America as being, “the greatest country in the world.” A country that is full of “beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people (Miller 126).” Willy completely fails to see how people are suffering which makes his exceptionalism in this context to reflect his false sense of pride where he simply fails to see the truth.
At the same time, at this time will is terribly falling as a salesman where he has very little to be proud of his financial situation. But despite this fact, Willy uses his unrelenting pride as a coping mechanism where he believes that things will be okay with time. This false sense of pride makes Willy live in a world full of delusion where reality no longer makes any sense to him. Whether or not he simply chose to ignore the reality, his false sense of pride lay the foundation for his downfall. What is even worse is the fact that he passes his delusions sense of pride to innocent parties. (Centola 32) perfectly captured this aspect where he observed that “Willy fails to see the folly of his dream and ends up passing on not only his dream but also his confusion to Biff and Happy.”
Willy’s believed that “the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interests, is the man who gets ahead” (Centola 26) makes him be so keen about his look and appearance at the expense of doing what is right to change his personal financial problems. He has a self-sense of pride where he is so convinced that he is destined for success that leads him to “constantly dress the part” (Centola 26).Willy’s false sense of pride also surfaces where he selfishly believes that the values associated with one’s family have a way of opening doors for success. His pride in his family leads him to look down manual labor arguing that it cannot translate to success. When Biff confronted him that since their situation was bad, they should work as carpenters. Full of arrogance and undue pride, Willy quickly asserts that “even your grandfather was better than a carpenter…Go back to the West! Be a carpenter, a cowboy, enjoy yourself!” (Miller 222). He is simply too proud to accept that he is financially dwarfed and that he can change his fate by doing manual works. His unfound sense of pride even leads him to accept a job offer from Charley who he categorized as his inferior. He then decides to accept loans that he is no position to pay. He simply has a false sense of pride coming out as being extremely proud when in reality he nothing real to be proud of.
As established above, it is Willy’s false sense of pride that leads him to believe that he is successful as a businessman and as a father. While he may have been successful in the past, his pride blinds him from accepting his current situation. His dreams and ambitions are baseless where to him it only makes sense that he is fated for greatness. He fails to accept that he is both failing as a salesman and as a father choosing to be proud when he has nothing really to be proud of. It is this false sense of pride that eventually leads to his downfall.
The Failed Past and the Delusions of the Present of a Successful Life in Death of a Salesman, a Play by Arthur Miller
“Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller displays a man whose inability to accept change within himself, and the reality of his life led to his and his family’s loss of identity and grasp of the truth. This man is Willy Loman who’s fear of abandonment, failed career and failed domestic life were the product of his past; leading to his present dilution of a successful life and the resulting downfall. Willy’s past experiences with his father and brother created a fear of abandonment which manifested in the form of a fictitious present where he ignores the fact that his sons have also abandoned him. This concern is seen in the constant questions about the whereabouts of Willy’s father from Willy to Ben.
In act one Willy asks “WILLY [pulling Ben away from her impatiently]: Where is Dad? Didn’t you follow him? How did you get started?” (1472). Willy’s abandonment by his father and brother at a young age leaves him with many unanswered questions and concerns. This secret fear corrodes his character, making him kind of a desperate person. Ironically, this desperation eventually leads to both Biff abandoning him and Willy abandoning his family through suicide. The past marked his present, and since the truth was too much for Willy, he chose to live in an alternate world of what could’ve been, but the truth intersections that often broke down the wall of lies gave him a glimpse of his reality. Both of these things combined worked in perfect harmony to destroy Willy’s life; he died living in the past that it could’ve been and abandoned his family in the present it ought to be. The success of a flute salesman and a jackpot winner inspired Willy’s drive to be successful without working for it. Willy believes he can be successful with charm. However, the world does not work as such, leading to the downfall of a credulous salesman whose past exposure to glorious success created the irrational definition of an accomplished life. Willy’s dilution of a successful career was what kept him going, he could never accept that he was an indebted, jobless loser and since black can’t be hidden with white his real life was sometimes dissolved by the image of Linda mending socks. “WILLY [noticing her mending]: What’s that? LINDA: Just mending my stockings. They’re so expensive! WILLY [angrily, taking them from her]: I won’t have you mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out!” (1468). Willy lashes out at Linda about her mending stockings because it reminds him of his affair and inability to provide for his family. He has a distorted perception of the past; he believes that he was a successful salesman and so his wife should not have to mend stockings.
However, the truth is that he failed at his job and repeatedly had to turn to Charlie, his only friend, for money. Aside from being unaware of his failures, Willy was envious of those who had what he lacked because despite the wall he had built up between reality and him, deep down he knew that he was absolutely nothing. Willy’s past affair affects his whole family, but it had a more significant impact on his relationship with his son Biff. Because Biff knew of the affair, the mirage his father had built for him and his family broke, and Biff was able to see his father for what he indeed was. This had a tremendous negative impact on Willy because he had placed all of his dreams on Biff. He wanted Biff to be as successful as he thinks he is. “BIFF: I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking about a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk” (1522). Here we see Biff’s realization of what his father had done to him, and so this created conflict and separation from Willy and Biff which partly caused Willy’s death. This one mistake Willy committed in the past haunted him for the rest of his life. Unable to regain the admiration and respect of his son, Willy in one desperate act he ended his life, hoping that Biff would be proud when he supposedly receives insurance money.
However, all Biff felt was pity and somehow a sense of relief, he had been freed from the chains his father had tied to his hands and feet which were what held him in the same place for thirty-four years. Willy’s past determined his lack of a future. Willy’s fear of being alone, of being unable to provide for his family and of being as successful as his brother caused him to become such that realization was too much for an old unachieved man, so he chose to live in a mirage with his family. This world of lies and deception along with his inability to let go of the past led to Willy’s death because when a man’s present is a deserted battlefield with only him standing in front of the inevitable loss, his only hope is to close his eyes and think of home, where he is undefeated and still fighting. Willy closed his eyes and did just that, so his opponent killed him while he was deep inside a fictitious world. But when the deed was done, nothing had changed except that his failure had been signed in the foreheads of his family.
American Dream In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller, who is a devoted writer, shows his concern in the well-being of the American society in his piece Death of a Salesman. This piece is a perfect example of how the pressure to achieve the American Dream can control your mind and lead to a tragedy.
Willy Loman, protagonist of the text, is the average white American family salesman whose life starts to spirals out of control with his pressure to get to the top. During the story there is a continuous struggle for financial stability and being able to fit into the right place in society. Death of a Salesman is a perfect example of the Marxist perspective because the only happiness that they believe can be found is measured by the success achieve in the working world. It is by analyzing the life actions and background of the book’s two main characters Willy and Biff that this conclusion can be made. Based on the theory of Karl Marx, Marxism has grown into a social theory. This social view contains two different classes, the proletariat and bourgeoisie. Overall Marxists believed that capitalism would lead to uncontrollable consumerism and greed. These ideas can be connected to Willy who has been consumed and almost blinded by the capitalist ideals and everything that comes with it, where money, power, and social standing are perceived as the most important thing. Unavoidably, Willy is shown to be apart of that proletariat class; so, he lies to convince himself that he is of higher status than he actually is. The Marxist perspective can also be applied to Biff’s character heavily. Biff is seen as more of a “hands on” individual that honestly would rather work outside on a farm or land. Willy couldn’t possibly understand why Biff wouldn’t want a high paying, respectful job like his father. Both Willy and Biff start the play in a state of false awareness, leading them both to being estranged. Unlike Biff, Willy essentially does not come out of this state and will bring his beliefs to his grave overall.
Death of a Salesman takes the typical idea of the American Dream and reveals negative aspects that can essentially come with it. Willy’s state of false consciousness primarily comes from his belief in a version of the American dream that is almost nonexistent to modern day America. Willy strongly desires the possibilities of success that essentially define the American Dream; he focuses on the firm belief that such accomplishment could be achieved through charm, style and popularity. In fact, he says that “the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, in the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want”. Time proves Willys idea completely wrong when it is shown that Bernard accomplished to land himself a successful career because of his good grades and attitude while charm and popularity gets Biff and Happy nowhere. Indirectly because of Willy’s obsession with popularity, he is alienated from Biff. Biff had been extremely close to him when he was younger, his relationship with his son slowly started to fall apart after Biff found out about his father’s affair. Willy’s strong stance on popularity convinced him to ask Biff to prolong their conversation when it was important overall for the teen to get a good grades in school so he wouldn’t fail and flunk out. Willy also states in the play: “How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years ago now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!”. This shows how Willy believes that when a good amount of money is made it can show a successful man or not.
The idea of the American dream is also present through Willy’s different ideas on how to achieve success in the workplace. Willy is convinced that if he is well-liked that success and money will shower down on him. The irony essentially in this is that Willy is old man who is not very attractive, and doesn’t really have many friends. This is a reason of Willy’s mental decline as well as physical downturn. All because Willy is not popular and wealthy, he becomes crazy. Willy carries out his last days in a dream-like, fantasy state because he is not capable of accepting his reality and living with it peacefully. His suicide was mainly because he wanted his family to have money; because that is the only way he truly thinks they will be happy. Willy disregards the fact that he is leaving his loved ones behind and all because he wants them to be able to live the American dream that he believes he never could.