Knowing yourself means knowing the real you, not just the one that you're present to the world, making this new discovery of yourself a long and overwhelming journey. Within “Death of a Salesman”, an old salesman, Willy Loman, struggles with living up to his own expectations, and these struggles don’t just affect WIlly, rather they affect both his sons, Biff and Happy, as well as his selfless and caring wife, Linda. The author, Arthur Miller, takes the readers on a journey through the last few hours of Willy’s life, showing Willy’s flashbacks, dreams, face-to-face encounters, and arguments. In “Death of a Salesman”, Miller utilizes the complex relationships between Willy and Biff through numerous conflicts in order to emphasize that one must …show more content…
A person who struggles with knowing who they are or what they want to do with themselves is experiencing something called identity confusion (“Identity”). In “Death of a Salesman”, it is clear that Willy Loman never was able to discover himself, sparking identity confusion, leaving him in a constant state of confusion and despair. The issues Willy experienced throughout his troublesome life may have been sparked through past childhood experiences, like the absence of a father figure. The development of one’s identity starts when an individual is able to look up to their role models and be provided with numerous options to explore in order to discover who they are and what they can become (“Identity”). Starting from early childhood, identities are being developed and children slowly are starting to be given the opportunity to discover themselves. Taking a step away from Willy and looking more towards his eldest son, Biff Loman, it is clear that WIlly was Biff’s desired role model. Some young adults follow in the same footsteps as their parents, sculpting their own lives around their parents expectations (Avital). This is what occurs for Biff, for he tried to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a successful salesman, however, that wasn’t the path that intrigued him the most. Biff preferred working with his hands on a ranch. Biff knew that he never enjoyed the work of a salesman, however, his father continuously pushed that lifestyle upon him, creating a tense, unhealthy relationship between the two. This tense relationship created an abrupt separation between the two, pushing both farther away from each other and from achieving true identity discovery. A life of constant misery and despair seemed to be heading in both Willy
He sees one of his failures as not being able to raise his sons to be “perfect”, like when biff didn't becoming successful in business. He feels that biff is betraying him by not following out what he wanted, and it really takes a toll on Willy when Biff walks out on him after discovering Willy with another women. When this scene comes up in the movie, Willy feels like Biff betrayed him all based on that, while Biff feels betrayed because of the multiple times Willy lied to him and his
Biff lays bare his true feelings towards Willy, and how the image of him being a father figure is shattered. He reveals the damaging impact of Willy's unrealistic expectations and values that were imposed upon him, shaped by Willy's view of the American dream and his utopian vision. Biff expresses his deep frustration with the unattainable expectations that Willy has placed on him, which have led to a constant sense of pressure to cater to a false view of success. Biff argues "I had to be boss big shot in two weeks, and I'm through with it. Never again!
This fear, along with a false pride of his son’s accomplishments, forced Willy into a mirage in which he lived his life. Willy’s aspirations to be successful were directly influenced by the success of his brother. After declining his offer to go to Antarctica, Willy was never able to accept his mistake, driving him to reshape his lifestyle in an attempt to recreate his brother’s success. His drive would be fed by the belief that his son Biff is becoming more successful than he is. However, this was the effect of the “mirage” that Willy thought his life was.
On page 52 Willy is talking to Ben asking for advice "Oh, Ben, that's good to hear! Because sometimes I'm afraid that I'm not teaching them the right kind of-Ben, how should I teach them?” Ben is a bad role model because he is dead. Not only is Ben desiced but all the ideas of Ben and how great of a guy he was were made up by Willy in his own head as a way to justify the way he is raising his kids. On the other side of this Biff’s role model is his father Willy.
Biff complains about Willy as a father, saying, “He’s got no character - Charley wouldn’t do this. Not in his own house - spewing out that vomit from his mind.” (Miller 56). Biff does not understand how his father has gotten to such a state of existence. Biff is also clearly frustrated, as even though he loves his father, he resents him for his emotional absence from Biff’s life, and compares him to other people that seem more stable on the outside, like Charley.
His tendency to make impulsive and irresponsible choices, such as borrowing money from his brother and falsifying his expenses, leads to financial strain and mistrust from his family. Additionally, Willy's decision to prioritize his own desires and goals over the well-being of his family, such as getting caught in his affair by Biff. He says that "I get so lonely- especially when business is bad "(Miller 1.1.38) to excuse his mistakes, but it creates a blockade around his connection with Biff. Furthermore, his lack of insight and self-awareness led him to blame others for his own failure and refuse to take responsibility for his own shortcomings, which further alienated him from his family. He takes this to an extreme by ending his life even though "he had no right to do that"(Miller 2.2.129), because his family “would've helped him"(Miller 2.2.129).
While Linda enabled him, Willy could not help himself too keep ruining the good opportunities he had and turning them into some factious reality. At Willy`s funeral Biff comes to the realization that his father had all the wrong dreams and visions of success. Willy`s only dream was the fake “American Dream” that people believe will happen overnight. Willy`s failed attempts and happiness bonded into one and played a part into him creating this false reality and persona that he was the best salesman and that he was well loved by everyone around him.
Relationships in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller Willy and Biff: The relationship between Willy Loman and his eldest son, Biff, is central to the play "Death of a Salesman." Throughout the narrative, it is evident that their bond is strained and complex. In the post-war United States, Willy, a traveling salesman, embodies the American Dream and places great emphasis on material success and popularity. He sees Biff as his hope for achieving this dream.
This destroyed all of Biff's views of his father, causing him not to graduate high school, and it ruined his future career. Ultimately, all these things build up for Willy, and getting fired is one of his last straws. After an argument with Biff, Willy kills himself, hoping to
Willy beliefs Biff should also become a salesman, Willy tries to escape reality by recalling his memories leaning on others for support and doing things he shouldn’t. “Ill take a walk, but in your slippers?” After biff and his brother Happy leave his father at a restaurant his mother Linda gets involved. “Don’t you care whether he lives or dies”? The more fighting in sues, they eventually reconcile.
Quest for Identity and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman If you have read the play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, you know that it is based on the turmoil within an average American family and about the main character Willy trying to reach for the “American Dream”. Unlike other happy endings this one ends in a tragedy as Willy commits suicide. In Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”, the theme(s) of ‘Quest for Identity’ and the ‘American Dream’ are represented through the montage of memories, dreams, and conflicts experienced by Willy Loman, revealing the author’s message of a broken down American dream. After thirty-five years working as a traveling salesman, Willy Loman feels defeated by his lack of success and difficult family life.
On pages 64 and 65, the angry, grumpy, and stubborn personality fights with the encouraging, lighthearted, and motivated Willy when he gives career advice to Biff. Originally, on page 64, the rigid Willy advises Biff to “talk as little as possible”, to “[not] crack any jokes”, to “Walk in very serious” and that “Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends them money”. Shortly thereafter, on page 65, Willy contradicts himself by advising Biff to “[not] be so modest”, to “Walk in with a big laugh. Don’t look so worried.”, and to “start off with a couple of your… stories to lighten things up…” and to do all this because “personality always wins the day.” The tone of a passage reveals who is winning in Willy’s mind.
Willy wanted to reach the “American Dream” through his financial success and business outward his perfect family. He had earned his respect from everyone including his peers. In this story the character Willy is suffering from a mental issue, which was related to his brother Ben, during the conversation he was reliving the moment in his mind since he was passed away. Biff had realized that his father was having extra material affair as well, so he iodized his father knowing because it was hard for him to believe what his father had done with his mother. Biff could not finish his school and considered a spit on them.
This is significant because it serves as a sense of reflection. Overwhelmed by societal pressure for material wealth, Willy becomes obsessed with superficial measures such as popularity instead of nurturing meaningful connections (21-22). Nevertheless, his descent into disillusionment prompted by successive failures leads him towards realizing the value of authentic human relationships above all else (75–76). Failing multiple times helps change the way you think about what it actually means to succeed. Consequently, failure becomes the catalyst that transforms Willy's definition of