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Battle Between Father And Son Essay

2300 words - 10 pages

In most cases, it is considered normal for the father to be the head of the household. Providing and taking care of the family are some of his many duties. He could pass down his views on several things. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, this is not the case. The relationship between Willy Loman and his sons steadily changes throughout the play. As Willy Loman attempted to prepare his sons for life; he ultimately failed to enforce good qualities and skills because of his breakdowns to work, mental issues, and self-control.
Willy tried his hardest, but was unfit as a father to Happy and Biff. One could attribute his role of being an unsuited father towards his sons from never really ...view middle of the document...

Willy wanted the best for both his sons. In Director Schlondorff’s film it betrays Happy as the unnoticed son. As the family was getting ready for bed Happy says “I'm gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you. Linda: Go to sleep, dear”(Schlondorff). Gives an idea that Willy loved his sons equally, but didn’t give happy as much attention as he did Biff. Biff, which was believed to be Willy’s favorite was a famed high school football star. According to Frank Ardolino’s Like Father like Son: “Willy believes that Biff's success as a high school football player is proof of his divinity. As he talks to Ben about him, he points to Biff, who stands silently by them like a sacred presence” (Ardolino). Here he talks of Biff as if there is nothing but greatness in Biff when he was in high school. Willy values his sons and wants to see them successful, and would want nothing more for them to be great.
Willy struggles with providing for his sons and is inconsistent with doing so he has trouble providing for his family because he is not a good salesman. To pay his insurance he constantly borrows money from his next door neighbor Charley. This leads to low self-esteem within Willy’s character, making it harder for him to take care of his own family depending on another. This brings negativity within the household, even though Willy pushes his sons to strive for success. With Willy’s inconsistencies to pay bills in his home, he values himself differently throughout the story. Fading In and out of conversations with others from his past Willy Loman’s character doesn’t seem to have it all together. Willy has an inability to be able to differentiate between the present time and the past. This leads to not notice what situation his family and sons are in still believing there's hope for his already grown sons. From one scene, Willy is noticed reminiscing on the past: “Willy: Well, come on, everybody! Ebbets Field next stop! Where’s the pennants” (Miller 2148)? Shows how Willy was so excited from Biff’s game he stills reminds himself of the game as a moment of success in his son’s life.
Happy and Biff can’t function when they’re older because of the way Willy brought them up. Deemed for success since birth Willy treated his boys as if they were flawless. He constantly boosted his sons’ ego in the play. When Biff explains his visit with Bill Oliver Willy says, “You know why he remembered you, don’t you? Because you impressed him in those days” (Miller 2159). From going to meet with Bill Oliver Biff is entirely embarrassed from sitting all day just to realize that everything he’s been taught is fake. This causes bitterness towards Willy. Biff becomes disappointed recognizing his father’s lack of teaching him the truth. This can be attributed to Willy’s views on success, believing that being well liked is more important than being the best in a situation. Without guidance Happy and Biff failed in the business world. While Willy believed that there were still hope...

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