Willy Loman Essay: The Failures Of Fathers And Sons

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The Failures of Fathers and Sons Everyone has different dreams. Some people crave material wealth, fame, or even just adventures. Connecting all these desires is the underlying search for success. Success can be defined in infinitely many ways, and is sought out by nearly everyone, but few actually achieve it, which raises the question: Can success actually be reached? Unfortunately, nearly every person who has attempted to solve that question has come up with a different answer. Such a debated question can be difficult to approach, since very few truths can be universally agreed upon. Consequently, Arthur Miller chose to not focus so much on how success is reached but what prevents it. Arthur Miller uses the fates of his characters in Death…show more content…
The contrast between Biff and Bernard, the standard for success, is staggering. Where Bernard is the prosperous son Willy wishes he had, Biff is the kleptomaniac failure of a son he actually has. Up until the end of the play, Biff does his best to follow Willy’s belief that popularity is the key to success, and it gets Biff exactly nowhere. At age 34, Biff is without a steady job, living with his parents in his childhood bedroom, and had been to jail at least once for theft (131). The failures of Biff directly mirror the beliefs Willy had instilled in him, such as Biff forcing himself to ignore his enjoyment of farm work in favor of Willy’s standards for success. The difference is that Biff seems to come to accept where his talents lie, at least after Willy’s death. This suggests that Biff may reach success in the future, as he will finally be chasing the right dream for him. Happy, on the other hand, is too much like his father in all the wrong ways. He takes Willy’s death as a challenge to prove to the world that Willy was doing the right things. If he continues to follow Willy’s ideals, however, he will likely end up no better than Willy, and potentially damn his family to an endless cycle of
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