The Death of a Salesman – the Male Dynamic in the Loman Family

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Death of a Salesman – The Male Dynamic in the Loman Family

The Loman Family: they may not be the perfect vision of the American dream, but they are perfectly written. One can really appreciate the way Arthur Miller depicts these individuals. Despite the amount of misunderstanding and quarrelling between them, each member of the Loman family brings something interesting and surprisingly realistic to the story. There is a quality to Death of a Salesman that makes it so likeable and believable. The family is dysfunctional, they argue, they have their baggage, and yet underneath it all, they love.

Something that has always interested me as a reader is the conflict that materializes between the men in this play. So many different things are going on in their lives, be it an elicit affair, an internal struggle, a mental illness, or constant denial and dishonesty, it is quickly apparent the strain of their problems has on their relationships. One might argue that Willy, the patriarch of the family, is the instigator of many of the Loman’s issues. But what if one were to delve into the psyche of his two sons, Biff and Happy? Why are these characters the way they are? Between an elicit affair, a struggling son, a mental illness, and constant denial and dishonesty, it is interesting to see the family function, and in the end, come as to an understanding with one another. The first dynamic to explore is arguably the main prominent: Biff’s relationship with his father. One scene that sticks out the most in my mind is the last scene in Act I. Biff and Happy are discussing their troubled father with Linda, their mother. This conversation makes the reader realize just how much emotional distance is between the four of them. “What happened for the love you had for him?” she asks him, “You were such pals! How you used to talk to him on the phone every night! How lonely he was till he could come home to you!” she exclaims (Miller, 1144). He can’t bring himself to tell his...
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