Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman shows that not all families live the perfect life. Willy Loman is a struggling salesman who is trying to provide for his family and guide his sons in the business lifestyle. Willy believes to be a successful person, you must be well liked; he emphasizes this to his sons all the time, saying “he mistakes the image of popularity for the reality, ignoring, for example, the obvious fact that, for some rich man, being well liked is not the source of their wealth but its effects” (Tyson 263). Even though Willy is pushing for his sons to pursue their future in sales, he is not being truthful to his family in that he is no longer a good salesman. He is not telling his family that he is struggling in his business and he is not very popular or well-liked, and he is now struggling at supporting his family and paying the bills. Miller portrays love, shattered dreams, failure and death in this tragic play. Willy only wants a better life for his family, one better than he had. It seems abandonment and disappointment continue to follow him through the years until he can no longer cope with it.
Willy wants to be like every successful person around him and to live the American dream. The pressure of society is causing him to be harder on his family and starting to take a toll on his mental state. He is not focusing on his family and what they already have, instead he is pushing them away because they will never fulfill the dreams he has for them. Linda, his wife, is the only one who truly supports him even though she knows he is lying to the family about his pay. She goes along with Willy's fantasies to preserve his fragile mental state.
The relationship he has with his son Biff is being destroyed even more because he knows about the other woman. Willy realizes Biffs failure to succeed in life is due to his infidelity. Biff no longer respects him and they are always arguing. “Willy’s whole life is a study in irony: his trust in the clichés and legends of the business world is ironical; he loves his family and children, but he cannot keep them together; he loves Linda and is yet unfaithful to her; he loves his children but they do not respect him” (Narayanan 8). Biff does not want to be in sales, but to live his dream on the ranch, “With a ranch I could do the work I like and still be something” (16).
Happy is like his father in that he exaggerates and tells everyone he is an assistant buyer when he is really an assistant to an assistant. He thrives on sexual gratification and he has affairs with many women. Both exaggerate details to make them feel more powerful. When Happy was younger he longed for his father's attention when his father came home from his business trips. Happy always asking his dad about his weight, "I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?" (21).
Biff and Happy have come up with a plan to go into business and sell sporting goods. Biff plans on going to see his old boss, Oliver and ask for a loan. Willy is...