13 May 2013
In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, hope destroys Willy Loman. Willy wants his son, Biff, to succeed and the game at Ebbets Field represents the realization of all Willy’s lost hopes for Biff.
The first scene that displays Willy’s hope is at the very beginning of act two. Willy becomes very defensive about Biff’s game when their neighbor, Charley, questions them. Biff also exhibits vicarious success for his father, saying, “I got it, Pop. And remember, pal, when I take off my helmet, that touchdown is for you” (88). By saying, “that touchdown is for you”, Biff shows that he wants to score a touchdown for the reason of satisfying his dad’s hopes for his sons success rather than score the touchdown for him-self. Wily becomes angry with Charley when he asks about the “big day” and Willy’s wife, Linda, has to calm him down. Charley: You goin’ for a ride? I wanted to shoot some casino. Willy, furiously: Casino! Incredulously: Don’t you realize what today is? Linda: Oh, he knows, Willy. He’s just kidding you. Willy: That’s nothing to kid about! (88) Charley was not trying to make Willy upset but does so by not knowing that it was one of Biff’s most important days. The special day that the characters are speaking of is Biff’s football game at Ebbets Field. To Willy, this day is important because all his hopes for Biff to be successful and well-liked come down to this game. Everyone will be watching him and he will be recognized which is exactly what Willy wants for his son. The reason Willy wants his son to be successful is because not only does every parent want that for their child but also because Willy was never necessarily “well-liked”. Willy’s high hopes for Biff are shown when Willy says “This is the greatest day of his life. … They’ll be calling him another Red Grange. Twenty-five thousand a year” (89). “Red Grange” was a college and professional football player who helped make the NFL legitimate. By saying...
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