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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Essay on Death of a Salesman

Essay on Death of a Salesman

            Death of a Salesman tackles several issues that are complementary to a society that s adjusting after the Second World War. The protagonist of the play, William Loman is a salesman, and has a wife and two children. Willy’s life revolves around his wild perception of success both in his professional career and as father. Without delving into the details, Willy appears to be a successful salesman. The truth is more of the opposite because is disliked by his peers and subjected to several customer rejections. The final draw was when Willy was fired by his boss after failing to impress the latter about a business plan. Inside his house, Willy acts as the authority and the best person to emulate. He would constantly push his eldest son Biff to follow his footsteps and become a businessman. Biff, meanwhile has no plans to be like his father and instead focuses on living a simpler life. The successful career and family life of Willy is more like a facade ad in reality he is a classic example of as failed American dream.

            Willy experienced a bleak childhood and constantly being abandoned. Perhaps this was Willy’s motivation to become a salesman, which requires a lot of travel. At an early age, their father deserted them and this hit Willy really hard. After that, his brother Ben also left him when the former decided to go to Africa. Willy always sees his brother as a role model because Ben became successful and rich. Willy would always quip that had he decided to go with Ben, then he too would have been rich. There were other instances when Willy was abandoned by the people he loved. Biff abandoned Willy’s suggestion of his son becoming a businessman. After an argument had erupted in the restaurant, Biff and Happy decided to leave their father behind. In the end, Happy decided to make amends by crashing car and consequently causing his death. Willy leaving would change everything that has failed in his life and career. He is tired of being left hence he followed the trend.

            One of the many aspects described in the play was Willy’s state of mind. He always mentioned about his brother Ben talking to him about Ben’s exploits in Africa. These conversations have further fuelled Willy to do well in his work. After acquiring all the expensive and modern appliances, Willy complained about not having money anymore. This was ironic because in the first place, he should have settled for cheaper ones that are as effective. When Willy received the bad news from his about regarding his proposal, he became enraged and argued. The result was a reality check and Willy was fired. Given Willy’s desire to reach greater heights, it was mind-boggling for Willy to start as shouting match with the one who could help him get there. During the restaurant scene with Biff and Happy, Willy was more agitated after he realized that both and his son have failed. Another argument ensued and his sons walked out. After that incident, Willy was seen talking to himself.

            As for the other characters in the play, Willy’s wife Linda portrayed a typical supportive housewife. Linda has an idea that Willy is becoming obsessed with something that is impossible to achieve. She always talks to her sons about supporting his father more although most of her opinions do not matter to both Biff and Willy. Linda knew that Willy was thinking about ending his life and asked Biff to do something about it. Willy’s eldest son Biff is a kid with the potential of being a star athlete. This was shattered though after Biff failed in his Math class and forced him to miss college. Biff felt betrayed after seeing his father with another woman in Boston. That memory affected his decision making and further eroded his trust on Willy. Happy is more similar to Willy in terms of lifestyle and career choice. He is willing to cheat just to get what he wants and is a womanizer. Another interesting character in the play is Charley who is the opposite of Willy when it comes to success. Charley sympathizes with Willy despite the latter reciprocating Charley poorly.

Miller, Arthur. Death of A Salesman, New York, NY: Penguin Books 

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