Analysis of the Ending of "Death of a Salesman"

Pages: 4 (1275 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Analysis of the Ending of "Death of a Salesman"

The play "Death of a Salesman" shows the final demise of Willy Loman, a sixty- year-old salesman in the America of the 1940's, who has deluded himself all his life about being a big success in the business world. It also portrays his wife Linda, who "plays along" nicely with his lies and tells him what he wants to hear, out of compassion. The book describes the last day of his life, but there are frequent "flashbacks" in which Willy relives key events of the past, often confusing them with what is happening in the present. His two sons, Biff and Happy, who are in their 30's, have become failures like himself. Both of them have gone from idolizing their father in their youth to despising him in the present.

On the last few pages of the play, Willy finally decides to take his own life ([1] and [2]). Not only out of desperation because he just lost his job, with which he was hardly earning enough to pay ordinary expenses at the end. He does it primarily because he thinks that the life insurance payout [3] will allow Biff to come to something [4], so that at least one of the Lomans will fulfill his unrealistic dream of great wealth and success. But even here in one of his last moments, while having a conversation with a ghost from the past, he continues to lie to himself by saying that his funeral will be a big event [2], and that there will be guests from all over his former working territory in attendance. Yet as was to be expected, this is not what happens, none of the people he sold to come. Although perhaps this wrong foretelling could be attributed to senility, rather than his typical self-deception [5]. Maybe he has forgotten that the "old buyers" have already died of old age. His imagined dialogue partner tells him that Biff will consider the impending act one of cowardice. This obviously indicates that he himself also thinks that it's very probable that Biff will hate him even more for doing it, as the...
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