Death of a Salesman

In the play ‘Death of A Salesman’ by Arthur Miller, the main character, Willy Loman experiences intricacy during his elderly age where he struggles to be a good father, husband, friend and salesman. Willy’s struggle throughout the play builds up a path to the end and results in his demise. Willy’s demise is initially brought forth by his continuous struggle. Although, struggle was one of the factors that contributed to Willy’s downfall, the wrong decisions, character traits and poor relationships were major factors leading to his downfall. However, Willy’s refusal to accept reality, his weak relationship with family members and his fraudulent characteristic instigate his tragic death.

Willy’s downfall was a consequence of his inability to accept and recognize reality. His denial of reality was obvious several times through flashbacks and contemporaneous moments. For instance, when Bernard informs Willy about the lack of effort Biff’s puts at school, his wife Linda shares the same opinion as of Bernard’s but Willy responds to Linda by saying:

“There’s nothing the matter with him! You want him to

be a worm like Bernard? He’s got spirit, personality…” (Miller, Page 40)

To escape reality, Willy attempts suicide several times by purposely crashing his car and by inhaling hazardous fumes from the heater. However, Willy’s attempts to commit suicide are persistently futile.

Also, Willy fails to perceive beyond the plausibility of several matters. He lacks considering the seriousness and importance of numerous issues. He disregards situations that pertain to both his sons, Biff in particular. He judges his sons’ competency by their behavior and fortitude. He imagines they would mature as successful men. Even though their incompetent attitude was evident through many events and conversations throughout the play, Willy never assessed them for their immoral behaviour. Instead, he would defend them and insist on saying that his sons are very efficient. For instance when Happy proposes the idea of Biff and himself commencing a business together, he instantaneously responds in a pleased manner:

“Lick the world! You guys together could

absolutely lick the civilized world.” (Miller, Page 64).

Willy’s perseverance for his sons is apparent through the many ways he demonstrates his concern for them. Willy’s approval to his sons’ behaviour at an immature age is one of the several ways he shows his affection for his sons. Willy’s affection, which he possesses for his sons during their childhood years, later becomes his drawback.

As Willy’s sons mature, they grow insubordinate and hold Willy accountable for the disappointments they experience in life. Willy was disheartened by their perception of things and for being held liable for their despondency. Willy’s wife Linda, felt strongly about Willy’s position and accentuated:

“…The man who never worked a day but for your benefit? When

does he get the medal for that? Is this his reward – to turn around at the age

of sixty-three and find his sons, who he loved better than his life…” (Miller, Page 57).

Not only do his sons hold him accountable for their dejection, but they also feel embarrassed by him. For instance, when Willy was to have dinner with them at the restaurant after Biff’s meeting with Bill Oliver, Happy notifies one of the girls he met at the restaurant that Willy was not their father and that he was ‘just a guy’.