Similarities Between Fences And Death Of A Salesman

793 Words4 Pages

Carly Cianciulli

Professor Rich Russell

Introduction to Literature

Paper #2

August 14, 2023

Father-Son Dynamics

Throughout different forms of literature, different themes arise in stories that are not all that different and inapplicable to our modern society. Whether it be the theme of infidelity, family dynamics, marital strife, or societal pressures, literature depicts what the audience encounters in their personal lives. For example, the father-son dynamic is a theme explored in many literary works. Two prominent works focusing on this theme are Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson. These plays depict the strained relationships between fathers and sons and how they struggle to connect and understand …show more content…

The main character, Willy, is a salesman who has not had much success in his career and is struggling to provide for his family, leading to his failure to live up to this ideal American Dream. On the other hand, his son, Biff, is a former high school football star who is unsure of what he wants to do with his life. Throughout the play, Willy constantly reminisces and projects his hopes and dreams onto his son. He wants his son to be successful and live up to his expectations, but he fails to understand or accept Biff's lack of ambition. However, Biff is resentful of his father's unrealistic expectations and frustrated with his failure to meet them. Their strained relationship and struggle to communicate effectively led to a climactic confrontation in the final …show more content…

The sons struggle with self-identity throughout both plays as they feel trapped in the shadows and by the fathers' dreams. At the end of The Death of a Salesman, Biff can break free as he says he is leaving and not coming back. Meanwhile, in the final scenes of Fences, Cory makes peace with Troy and his behavior by talking to his mom, Rose, just before Troy's funeral. Both plays conclude the father's storyline with different versions of death, allowing the audience to see the sons coming to terms with their new reality and the sense of individual freedom that coincides. In Death of a Salesman, Willy commits suicide once the weight of the dream he once envisioned and believed in comes crashing down, while in Fences, Troy dies of a heart attack. Both plays depict the father character as selfish and deeply flawed, as both Troy and Willy have consistently failed to see the significance of the people and situations around them, which in the end affects the relationships they have or do not have with their

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