Essay On Foil Characters In Death Of A Salesman

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“The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (33). In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses foil characters to elucidate Willy’s flaws that ultimately prevent him and his family from succeeding. The contrast between Charley and Willy and Bernard and Biff serves to highlight how Willy’s obsession with achieving his version of the American Dream impacts both his life and his children’s. His poor values are passed on to his children producing even more failures.
¬¬¬¬Both Charley and Willy work as salesmen, however Charley represents what Willy desired to become – successful. Charley’s humility leads to his success, and the contrast of these two characters highlights Willy’s arrogance and impracticality. Charley is humble, realistic, and knowledgeable. His self-confidence allows him to live a happy life without needing to boast. In contrast, Willy constantly brags about his life to boost his self-image. Furthermore, he criticizes others to feel better about himself which comes as a result of his jealousy and insecurity. Willy is shocked when Charley doesn’t mention that his son is “gonna argue a
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Both characters realized that hard work is necessary to get what they want and that success is not a result of popularity. Bernard recognizes this much earlier in his life and becomes successful from an early age. This highlights how fathers play a crucial role in character development. Ironically Biff is similar to Willy, even though he refuses to admit it. Through this, Miller implies that all humans have inherited traits from their parents that cannot be denied. These characteristics may be good or bad, but individuals can learn from them and overcome the
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