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Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. (Albert Einstein) The American Dream contradicts this and tells people to be happy they should be successful. In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the main character, Willy Loman, lives a life filled with many false dreams that are based on this American dream. As he gets older, he has constant daydreams about the past and the ways things used to be. Willy Loman owns nothing, and he makes nothing, so he has no accomplishments and therefore no reason to move forward in his life. Willy Loman s illusions lead him to his suicide.
His failure to see the truth regarding his financial success, his popularity, and his sons lead him to his death. Willy Loman believes that financial success is the key to happiness. Yet, he never achieves this success. He has the wrong job for him to obtain success as evident in his lack of sales and income. He has to borrow fifty dollars from his neighbor Charley every week and pretends it s his pay just to get by. When Willy tries asking for a position in the showroom in New York Howard ends up firing him.
Howard knows he isn t a successful salesman tells him he doesn t have a position for him. Willy doesn t understand this who wouldn t want Willy as a salesman especially after he has worked for the company for so long. Willy Loman considers himself to be a popular salesman and well liked in the towns he travels to. Willy told Biff and Happy, I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. Willy Loman is here That s all they have to know and I go right through. This statement isn t really true but Biff and Happy believe him.
Willy fills his sons so full of this concept of being well liked that when Biff flunks math he goes to Boston to search for his father. He thought that since Willy is so well liked, that Willy would be able to convince the math teacher to change the grade. Willys strong desire to be well liked is also what drove him to have an affair in Boston. The fact that the woman would go to bed with him promoted his ego after a hard day of being turned away by buyers. When Biff discovers the affair he no longer believes in his father. Willys life changes after this and he has nothing more to live for except his illusions and fond memories of the past and Biff doing so well in football.
Willy Loman felt his sons would be very successful in life. He always admired Biff and thought he would be a great football player. Willy looked upon Biff as having the personal attractiveness or popularity to have a successful career. However, neither son has achieved much in their lives. Their one idea towards success was to start a sporting goods business together, but their ideas on how to get started were merely false hope. Biff thought he could go to Bill Oliver, his former employer from high school, and easily get a job in his sporting good business.
He thought Oliver had liked him and Willy reinforces this pushing Biff to go see him. He then told Biff and Happy, I see great things for you kids, I think your troubles are over. But remember start big and you ll end big. He falsely thought it was easy to just get a job and start off at the top and they would be successful.
However, Biff didn t get the job. Oliver didn t remember him and didn t even give Biff a chance for a job. That night, Willy was out to dinner with his two sons and gets upset when Biff tries to tell him about not succeeding with the job. Willy refuses to accept this in his head and tells himself that Biff still has a chance.
Later that night at home, he learns Biff really does love him and Willy now more than ever wants to help Biff become successful. Still not seeing the reality that his sons are also failures, Willy decides on suicide. Willy imagines that with twenty thousand dollars he believes they will get in insurance money, Biff could be successful. His life came to end just how he had lived it, in an illusion.
Willy Loman had many illusions in life. He thought he could bring happiness to himself and his family if he earned enough money. He thought the popularity that he didn t really have would bring him financial success. Willy also thought he sons would be successful in life.
Since none of these were true Willy s life begins to fall apart. In the end as a final illusion, Willy commits suicide thinking his family will get money for his death.
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