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Amanda Wingfield & Willy Loman Essay

1308 words - 5 pages

Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman and Tennessee Williams' play, The Glass Menagerie show two parents who have lived a life of failure but are unable to recognize their disappointing lives. Because both Willy Loman and Amanda Wingfield but have the inability to realize their unsuccessful lives, they try to instill the same values that they had growing up onto their children which in turn lead to the downfall of their children. Although Amanda and Willy have different ideas on what is a successful life, they both believe that the key to success and getting ahead in life is "likability". Likability is the trait that Willy and Amanda emphasize the most to their children. Since their children haven't been exposed any other traits they lead unsuccessful lives just like their parents.Willy Loman is a failing salesman who always dwells on the past. He looks at the past as his golden years, a time in his life where he was doing well in life. He believes the past was full of fond memories and a place where he was popular. To him it was a place where he was truly happy. He would greatly exaggerate his success stating that "[he] averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions."(Miller 62) when he probably didn't make that much at all. By him thinking that his past was such a great success, he believes that his children will want to be like him and be successful as well. In reality his past wasn't so great, and he wasn't popular at all. He only perceived it that way. This misrepresentation causes him to live in a world of illusion. He can't face the fact that his whole life has been one full of failure and that he isn't someone special. He isn't "a dime a dozen" (Miller 105); he thinks he's different from everyone else. But in fact he's just like a lot of people, he isn't highly recognized like he thinks he is and he hasn't done anything special with his life. He also can't see that the lives of his children are also failures and because he can't see that, his life is an epic failure. He has clouded his mind so much that he can't see the reality of his life. His sons don't realize that their lives are just like Willy's. Since they have been brought up on his false values, like being well like is the most important thing and because he's their father, they believe whatever he says and follow in his footsteps of failure. Since he believes that he had such a successful past, he thinks he's a great model for his kids.Like Willy, Amanda exaggerates her past. When she questions her daughter Laura on why she doesn't have any "gentleman callers", she goes back to the past to tell her children that at one time she had seventeen gentleman callers. Amanda grew up in the south and used to be very pretty. She claimed to be very popular. In reality, she probably didn't have that many because she ended up marrying a man that left her, while a lot of the men she descrived grew up to be very successful. It seemed like she picked the worst one out of them....

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