Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Willy's Tragic Flaw and the Effect it Has Upon his Sons
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller concerns itself with the fall of a simple man perpetually in a steadfast state regarding his own failure in a success-driven society. The protagonist of the play, Willy Loman, will follow a tragic trajectory that will eventually lead to his suicide. Arthur Miller's tragic play is an accurate portrayal of the typical American myth that sustains an extreme craving for success and a belief in the illusion of the American dream, a dream attainable only by a handful of people. Having chosen a career in sales Willy Loman constantly aspires to become 'great'. Nevertheless, Willy is a poor aging salesman that considers himself to be a failure when comparing himself to his successful father and brother, but he is incapable of consciously admitting it. Consequently, Willy will measure his level of success with the level of success attained by his offspring, particularly his eldest son Biff. Their difficult relationship contribute to the play's main plot. Willy unfolds his deluded perception and recollection of the events as the audience gradually witnesses the tragic downfall of a man shadowed by a mental illness that has already began to take it's toll on his mind and personality.
Willy Loman will bring his downfall upon himself as he entices his own disillusions and the bedrock of his values pertaining to success and how one can achieve it. His failure to recognize the fruitless outcome of his own idealism will seal his fated suicide and have a determining effect on the failures of his two sons that when adolescent, idolized their father as a guide and model. This misguidance delivered so boldly by their father will lead both sons into believing and adopting Willy's unrealistic and disillusioned perceptions of life. Although Willy is in reality an unsuccessful salesman he continually speaks of himself and of his two sons in his brash ways, as being part of those whom have affluence and destitution, those whom can become great leaders in the world. Linda, Willy's wife, honourably stands by him even as he start to slowly degenerate into illusion that he cannot differentiate from reality anymore. To some extent Linda is not part of the solution but rather part of the problem with the family's inability to face reality. Linda loves Willy to the extent of accepting her husband's distorted views of reality and falling herself in his world of dreams and aspirations. In doing so, she is telling her sons without a word that their father's destructive direction in life is perfectly viable. Linda also vocalises the main conflict between Biff and his father at the very beginning of the play; "You know how he admires you. I think if he finds himself, then you'll both be happier and fight no more."(p.15) This statement implies the level of control Willy wishes to have on his...