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Death Of A Salesman Essay

1044 words - 4 pages

In the play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller, reality and illusion is a major theme and source of conflict. Willy, main character of the play, has a hard time distinguish between reality and illusion. His flashbacks, mostly back to the time when Biff was still in his high school year, always overlap with the present days. He cannot see who he and his sons are. He believes his elder son, Biff, and his youngest son, Happy, are great and successful and cannot accept the fact that they are not. Biff cannot see the illusion Willy lives in, as well as the reality he is in until the end of the play. Happy, on the other hand, is like another Willy who cannot see the reality and is always trying to redeem himself in his parent's eyes. Linda, who is Willy's wife, knows Willy is unhappy and is near the end of his life, but tries her best to make Willy happy and keep the peace in the Loman's family.The conflict between Willy and Biff is the main material of the play. Willy wants Biff to be a successful man and be rich. On the other hand, Biff has an internal struggle between pleasing his father and doing what he feels is right. Biff has this struggle for fifteen years. He flunked math during his senior year and was not allowed to graduate; however, he was going to make it up in summer school but in the meantime, he caught Willy being unfaithful to Linda. This shock ruins everything Biff believes in. The Willy he used to know is just a "fake" (58). He used to believe in his father and his value, but after that point, he doesn't respect his father anymore and was lost for fifteen years. Biff is not able to see his father's illusion but being able to see the reality of the situations has made Willy uneasy. Toward the end of Act II, after the boys come home from Frank Chop House, Biff has a big argument with his father and this is where the climax of the play is. Biff yells "The man don't know who we are! The man is gonna know! We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!" (131). Biff is trying to bring his father back to the reality but had failed. Before that day, when Biff stopped by the Oliver's building, he saw "the sky" and asked himself: "why am I trying to become what I don't want to be?" (132). Biff finally chooses not to please his father as also tries not to let Willy continue lives in his illusions by telling him the reality. Biff has his own life and his own value of the word successful. He not only has accepted the reality of the situation, but also tries to convince Willy to get away from his illusions. Biff says, "Pop! I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you!" (132). But again, Willy still lives in his illusions in which he believes he is "not a...

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