Society has convinced us that submitting to conformity is the best solution to have a reasonably well social life. Others however, believe that being yourself is the best way to converse with others. In Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” the Loman family is having difficulty with following the customs society throws at them, while their successful neighbors, Charley and his son Bernard, cope with their surroundings and succeed. Miller uses honesty and stability to illustrate the differences between the Loman’s and Charley as well as Bernard, in the attempt to become successful.
Honesty is present in both families, but differentiates in the amount they actually utilize to help them on their path of achievement. The Loman’s in this case show the least amount of sincerity. For example, Willy tells his wife “I did five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston,” when in reality he exaggerates the truth and his wife calculates that his shares were really seventy dollars instead of the two hundred they started out with (1251). Since the time is during the 1950’s and men were still perceived as the ones who bring food to the table, Willy’s actions of dishonesty are triggered by the role of being the man of the house. This low level of truthfulness is persistent throughout the play. Another scenario that includes deceitfulness from the Loman’s is when Biff tells his mom “Why didn’t you ever write me about this, mom?...I was on the move. But you know I thought of you all the time…” because we find out towards the ending of the play that he was in jail during his three month absence (1260). Biff decides to tell this lie for the sake of his parents not finding the truth and the guilty feeling that he will disappoint his parents because they expect more from him. While the Loman’s continue with their unorthodox ways, their relative’s uncle Charley and cousin Bernard, live by performing well with anything that comes in their way.
Charley and Bernard show the most amount of honesty in the play. For instance, Charley tells Willy “The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that,” indicating to Willy that he fails to do what is necessary for the job he’s been working for thirty four years (1281). Charley chooses to tell him the cold hard truth because Willy cannot accept the fact that he needs a new job. Bernard is also a truthful and bold character. He advises Biff to study math with him at his house, because if he doesn’t he will fail the course and will be unable to graduate. Unsurprisingly, Biff ignores his request and unfortunately did not graduate. Although each family’s amount of honesty differs, it takes a severe toll at their endeavor to accomplishment.
Stability within the two families plays a major role at their efforts to achieve big in their lives. Once again the Loman’s are the least stable family. Unstableness is...