Denial by definition is in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. In Arthur Miller’s play The Death of a Salesman the Loman family lives and breathes in denial. This starts with Willy’s and Linda’s awkward and awful marriage and ends with their two troubled sons. The Loman Family’s dysfunctional traits come from years of self-deception, which they use as a means to mentally escape the cruel reality of their everyday lives. Their eldest son Biff is the only member of the family to see these false hopes and makes the decision to change his life.
These lies and false illusions are mostly created by the head of the Loman household, Willy Loman. Willy is a middle aged man who is a women’s clothing salesman in the northeast. He travels to all these places such as Boston and Providence. At the beginning of the book we first see a glimpse of this when his wife Linda asks about the car. “How’d the Chevy run?” his wife asks. Willy replies by saying “Chevrolet, Linda is the greatest car ever built.” Linda then responds to Willy by saying “You owe Frank money for the carburetor” Willy then yells “I’m not going to pay that man! That goddam Chevrolet, they ought to prohibit the manufacturing of that car! “. (Act I) It goes from being the greatest car ever built to a worthless pile of junk in a matter of seconds. This quote shows that Willy during his “fantasy” is easygoing and laid back then when he snaps out of his web of lies and realizes his true financial situation he immediately changes the opinion of his car. Willy’s self-deception doesn’t just target his material wealth it also targets his personal life.
Willy not only uses self-deception to make himself feel good about his wealth he also uses it in his personal life.
“Willy-Oh I’ll knock them dead next week. I’ll go to Hartford. I’m very well liked in Hartford. You know the trouble is Linda; people don’t seem to take to me. Linda-Don’t be foolish. Willy-I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me. Linda-Why’s that dear. Willy-I don’t know why, I’m not noticed.”
This quote shows Willy contradicting himself. Saying he is very well liked in Hartford but then says he is ignored and unnoticed most of the time. This shows that he frequently uses self-deception to deceive himself about his success. The truth about his life however is close by and this drives him insane.
Linda the wife and mother of the Loman house is no better than her husband. She likes to create illusions that their life is good and that she is content with it. We all could tell this isn’t the case. She often feeds willy’s self-deception. She does this by agreeing with his crazy outburst and accusations instead of correcting him or helping him. An example of this would be in Act one in the opening scene.
Linda: Where were you all day? You look terrible. Willy: I got as far as a little above...