Analysis Of The Ending Of 'death Of A Salesman' By Arthur Miller

1066 words - 4 pages

The play 'Death of a Salesman' shows the final demise of Willy Loman, a sixty-year-oldsalesman in the America of the 1940's, who has deluded himself all his life about being a bigsuccess in the business world. It also portrays his wife Linda, who 'plays along' nicely withhis lies and tells him what he wants to hear, out of compassion. The book describes the lastday of his life, but there are frequent 'flashbacks' in which Willy relives key events of thepast, often confusing them with what is happening in the present.His two sons, Biff and Happy, who are in their 30's, have become failures like himself. Bothof them have gone from idolizing their father in their youth to despising him in the present.On the last few pages of the play, Willy finally decides to take his own life ([1] and [2]). Notonly out of desperation because he just lost his job, with which he was hardly earning enoughto pay ordinary expenses at the end. He does it primarily because he thinks that the lifeinsurance payout [3] will allow Biff to come to something [4], so that at least one of theLomans will fulfill his unrealistic dream of great wealth and success.But even here in one of his last moments, while having a conversation with a ghost from thepast, he continues to lie to himself by saying that his funeral will be a big event [2], and thatthere will be guests from all over his former working territory in attendance. Yet as was to beexpected, this is not what happens, none of the people he sold to come. Although perhapsthis wrong foretelling could be attributed to senility, rather than his typical self-deception [5].Maybe he has forgotten that the 'old buyers' have already died of old age. His imagineddialogue partner tells him that Biff will consider the impending act one of cowardice. Thisobviously indicates that he himself also thinks that it's very probable that Biff will hate himeven more for doing it, as the presence of 'Ben', a man whom he greatly admires for being asuccessful businessman, is a product of his own mind. But he ignores this knowledge whichhe carries in himself, and goes on with his plan.After this scene, Biff, who has decided to totally sever the ties with his parents, has an'abprupt conversation' (p.99) with Willy. Linda and Biff are in attendance. He doesn't wantto leave with another fight, he wants to make peace with his father [6] and tell him goodbyein a friendly manner. He has realized, that all his life, he has tried to become something thathe doesn't really want to be, and that becoming this something (a prosperous businessman)was a (for him) unreachable goal which was only put into his mind by his father (p.105). Hedoesn't want a desk, but the exact opposite: To work outside, in the open air, with his hands.But he's willing to forgive [6] Willy for making this grave mistake while Biff was in hisyouth. He simply wants to end their relationship in a dignified way. Willy is very angered bythis plan of Biff's [7], because it means that he is...

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