Death of a Salesman Essay

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Alberto Foster
AP Literature
17 September, 2012
Mrs. Pillalis

Throughout the play Death of a Salesman, a steady focus on the conflict between parent and son is apparent and specifically utilized through multiple depictions. The most obvious being the prolonged turmoil of mixed relationships between Willy and Biff, as well as the role that Linda keeps in providing unity and peace within the family. Through such a method, Miller is able to magnify the ill effects of the conflict between parent and son has on a family already encompassed with a multitude of problems. As diverse and complicated as Willy Loman’s character is presented in the play, his relationship with Biff seems to be the most complex aspect. Willy had an impactful relationship with his father, who was described as a successful salesman and served as the model of the potential that Willy endlessly pursued to achieve throughout his troublesome life. With this in consideration, Willy’s constant dissatisfaction with Biff can be comprehended. He viewed Biff most aimed toward success out of his two sons, with the looks and initial appearance to be something great in the business world. Though, his lack of ambition and poor attitude toward his overall academic success ultimately led to his downfall as he relied on stealing and other unhealthy habits to get by in his childhood. These were developed by Willy’s unhealthy parenting and focus on sports and popularity rather than education and kindness. He admires his work ethic but loathes his self-motivation. Willy makes comment that “Biff Loman is lost” in the greatest country in the world despite his “personal attractiveness” and being such a “hard worker”, demonstrating Willy’s confusion in how Biff can go against the standard of a successful man in that time period. Willy remained optimistic of his son’s potential despite his struggles in school, constantly complimenting Biff even with his imperfections. As time progressed and Biff continued to...
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