top-rated free essay

Death of a Salesman

By junsuklee Nov 07, 2013 1193 Words

Being a father is one of the most significant roles in a family; they are influential and they stand as their family’s pillars. Children, especially sons, consider their fathers’ legacy as a legend and dream to follow fathers’ footsteps. A son’s future depends on the role of the father, and it is so important that their family’s faith depend on their relationship. Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” consists of endless father-son conflicts due to the fact that Willy, an oppressive father, has high, unattainable expectations for his son Biff; while he appears to have virtually no relationship with his youngest son, Happy. Willy refuses to admit that his actions and his teachings have led to the destruction of his relationships with his sons. The turning point of the story that causes the destruction of Willy’s financial capability and his relationship with Biff was Willy’s affair with an anonymous woman. While Biff was in Boston he witnesses his father and the woman walking inside Boston Hotel. Biff first saw his father as a man who is perfect and intelligent, but all these interpretation changes after this incident occurs. Before Willy suicides he realizes that his actions have let his dream die and Biff to despise him, causing their eventual downfall. Willy insecurity and lack of parenting ability is another problem. This occurs when Willy catches Biff stealing a football from his coach before the day of Biff’s football match. Willy first says, “I want you to return that” (p.1461). Then he says, “Sure he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? Coach’ll probably congratulate for your initiative!” (p.1462). Also this occurs when Willy encourages his boys to steal lumber from the construction site. Willy is actually advocating Biff to steal other people’s property. Later this lesson causes Biff to get fired from a job for stealing a basketball and again at another job for stealing a pen. The adult Biff realizes, in hindsight, that his habits of stealing have cost him dearly and he lashes out at Willy, “I stole myself out of every good job since High School!” Citation? Willy’s consistency with Biff can be seen in their different views of prosperity and success. Willy’s definition of success is materialistic just like his brother Ben who once became rich for obtaining expensive materials in Africa. This explains why Willy resents Biff for working in a farm; he said “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 its more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week”. On the other hand Biff says to his brother “Listen, why don’t you come out West with me? Sure maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles. I’m telling you kid, if you were with me I’d be happy out there.” Biff knows that he can never live up to his father’s expectation, so he dreams of working in a peaceful estate without a consideration of money. Nevertheless, Biff was raised to take money into account because of Willy’s constant lecture and ambition. This causes Biff to be lost and comeback home, further agitating his relationship with his father. Furthermore, Willy’s abundant praise to his sons gives an unrealistic view of life and denies their flaws. During Willy’s flashback, he said “why Biff should have to work hard when his charming personality will get him out of any problems”, this influenced Biff to become excessively confident. Biff and Happy’s believes their flattering characteristics will lead them to success instead of diligence. As Biff grew older and tells his father his plan about persuading his old boss, Oliver to initiate a sports equipment business, Willy says “You know why he remembered you, don’t you? Because you impressed him in those days.” And “There are fifty men in the New York City that who’d stake him.” This will give Biff a false hope for him to negotiate with Oliver. Eventually, Oliver will embarrass Biff for his initiative on having optimism to start a business, making Biff realize that his father was just trying to galvanize him. Unlike Biff, Happy favors his father disregarding of Willy’s priority on Biff. Happy’s primary role in this play is to please his father in spite of Willy neglecting him. Although Happy is hired to a better job than Biff, he perceives his father is unfulfilled with his accomplishment. Conversely, Biff’s life disappoints Willy, but he gets more attention from his father. Willy neglecting Happy and concentration on Biff will confuse them how to reach their dream and further dividing their bond. Willy once said that he doesn’t have much memory with his father. Willy is then determined that he will support and provide unlimited love to his sons. Love can be a beautiful thing, but an excessive amount of it can be malicious. For example Biff once said “I never got anywhere because you blew so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody!” Willy’s determination of becoming a perfect father is a complete failure, as his sons are not grateful what he has done for them. As soon as the sons come back home from a restaurant, Linda is furious about what they have done to Willy. Willy at that time was in the moment of depression and confused about his life. Linda furiously says that Willy has dedicated his entire life to them and they have disheartened him. In the final scene the major problem has appeared, Biff finally tells his father to stop trying to change his identity. He asks his father to let him go, in another word Biff wants freedom from Willy and his suppression. Biff begs his father “I’m not bringing home any prizes any more, and you’re going to stop waiting for me to bring them home!” Willy is still disillusioned by his misinterpretation of Biff’s action as deceitful, he screams at Biff “You vengeful, spiteful mutt!” Then Biff starts to break down. This is the point where Willy finally understands Biff’s imperfectness and that Biff loves Willy. Although at first the relationship between Willy and his sons seem obnoxious, at the end their love is undeniable and eternal. To show Willy’s love to his family, especially Biff, Willy commits suicide. The poor father and son relationship is the root of all the failure and destruction of the entire family. Willy always had the intention of becoming a perfect father to make his sons admire, but his actions only harmed his family. His final action demonstrates his endless love toward his family as he cares more about his family’s future than his own life. Although Willy’s action can be considered as a lacking father, readers cannot deny his heart is always genial.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Discuss “Death of a Salesman” as a film. How could this film be more film-like? The well known late 1980’s play Death of a Salesman was beautifully crafted and opened my mind up to the reality of some people’s fantasies. When I first began to watch the play, I had immediately noticed that it was a play and not a movie. Usually in a...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Death of a Salesman In the play “Death of a Salesman” the major character was the father Willy Loman. He was the father of two sons Biff and Buddy Loman and a busy business man who had a dream that he wanted to pursue. “Death of a Salesman” is based on painful conflict with a family and it also talks about family issues that are going...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Define "The American Dream". In what way does Death of a Salesman point out the hopelessness of chasing this dream? Are there any rewards? The idea of the American Dream is truly subjective. To some, it is living in the lap of luxury in all aspects. To others, it is a chance at a better brighter opportunity for themselves or their families. ...

    Read More
  • Death Of A Salesman

    ...Caylin Hubble AP Literature Literary Analysis Essay Revisiting the Past The past is complex; it cannot be repeated, nor altered, so why do so many people try to relive it? In Death of a Salesman, Willy tries on multiple occasions to relive his past through his memories. The whole Loman family did not want to face their situations, most of t...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Discuss Arthur Miller’s presentation of Biff in ‘Death of a Salesman’ Arthur Miller’s presentation of Biff in ‘Death of a Salesman’ is complicated. Within three days after Biff returned home, he is portrayed as a complex character that undergoes various inner conflicts and changes in personality. Firstly, Biff is presented as a...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ... Death of a Salesman and Fences There are many parallels that can be drawn between August Wilson’s and Arthur Miller’s main characters in both of their respective plays. While some may not be immediately obvious, I plan to connect many...

    Read More
  • Death of A Salesman

    ...Morrison Death of a Salesman Essay 26 September 2013 Hopes, Dreams, and Success: The Downfall of a Relationship between a Father and His Sons In Arthur Miller’s tragedy, Death of a Salesman, a New York’s family’s dreams and success tear them apart. Willy Loman, a devoted father who was forced to grow up without one, has raised his son...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ... The Hopeless American Dream? In “The Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, the overall theme is about striving for and failing at the “American Dream”. The finale quote from Linda Loman at the end of the play disseminates the consequences of death and failure due to the pressure surrounding the “American Dream”. Forgive...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.