Betrayal in "Death of a Salesman"

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Rachel Jurina WLISA Senior 8-15-12 period 2 Campagna Death of a Salesman Essay

Play writer, Arthur Miller, in his play "Death of a Salesman" tells about the life of a salesman named Willy Loman, whose life is filled with betrayal. Miller's purpose is to portray a man's life in which his sons, the pride and joys of his life, betray him at his darkest hour. Miller depicts the treachery and inner evil of the two boys and their father. He emphasizes the effects that inner family betrayal can have on not only the ones committing the betrayal, but also other people who must witness it.

The text opens to a man named Willy coming home depressed. Willy would best be described as the main character of the story. He has lived an average life as a salesman with two kids and a loving wife. What is learned about Willy from the get go is that he has a passion for success. He has pushed his boys to be their very best their whole life, especially his eldest son, Biff Loman. He treasures those times when life was full of hope and happiness. He treasures it so much that he often flashes back to moments in the past when he is struggling or is caught in a moment of chaos. His flashes back and forth to past and present are what create the conflict inside of Willy. That conflict and chaos is always caused by betrayal. Both Happy and Biff betrayed Willy's confidence. Biff especially betrayed his father when he refused to make anything of himself. He flat out told his father that he was a worthless human being and that all his father's hopes and dreams were wasted on a loser. This broke Willy's heart completely. Happy also betrayed his father in a less direct way. Happy simply never cared for his father at all. When he was young he gave up hope of getting any attention from his father so he...
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