Delusions of Grandeur – An Expository Essay Death of a Salesman Willy Loman’s greatest weakness – and the reason of his unhappiness lie in the facade he has created within himself. Without a father figure to instill reason in him and leave a legacy of any kind, he fixates himself upon the only character that will leave him a lasting impression – his enigmatic brother Ben. As a result, the ideals imbued in young Willy – money, recognition, and ambition, lead him to accept a warped version of The American Dream: the belief that being well-liked and respected warrant success. However, when he fails to sell these values to his young son Biff, he discovers just how disparate dreams and reality are, and brings down his entire family along with himself. Willy’s beliefs and actions stem from his fear of being alone.
In the flashback, Willy gives his sons a punching bag. He also condones Biff’s stealing of a football and doesn’t encourage them to study as much as they should. He emphasizes being well liked. After the flashback, Happy talks with Willy and asks him why he didn’t go to New England for his business trip. Willy explains that he almost hit a kid in Yonkers.
However, for Willy to live by his ideals necessitates building or telling many lies, and these illusions replace reality in Willy's mind. He tells lies about how well liked he is in all of his towns, and how vital he is to New England. At times Willy even believes his own lies and becomes enthusiastic when he tells his family that he made more money than he actually did. Willy then fills his sons so full of this concept of being well-liked that when Biff flunks math he goes to Boston to search for his father. He thought that since Willy is so
It is not far-fetched to wonder if Willy himself had a bad encounter with cheating as a young boy, or if it is by his own recognizance that he believed that it was alright to cheat and steal. This ideology that Willy presents is shown greatly by the lesson he presents to his sons; cheating and stealing is okay. Willy Loman teaches his sons that cheating and stealing is okay because he himself believes that. When one of his sons steals equipment from his school he congratulates his son and tells him that if he were his coach he would take that as having dedication. Willy asks his neighbor to take a state test for one of his sons because he wants his son to get a good grade.
Willy associates Ben with qualities that he himself severely lacks Realtiyvs Illusion Willy has dreams of material success, notoriety and has a misguided notion of the American Dream. These hopes dwarf the other aspects of his mentality and ultimately result in a psychological descent. He is then unable to distinguish his wild dreams and unattainable goals from the harsh reality of the present. Willy attempts to convince his sons that he is well-liked: ‘... and know me,boys, they know me up and down New England…’ This demonstrates that he is discernibly delusional, as he is neither well-liked nor known. The pressure
The characters from both plays are indirectly compared, for instance the two youngest sons, Cory and Biff. Cory and Biff were compared through football and their father's, the contrast between the boys were where they went in life and the relationship they had with their father's. Football was a passion for both Cory and Biff, neither of the boys played football past high school, but they were both good players. Cory was very driven to play football even when his father constantly disapproved. Biff didn't have the same drive that Cory had but he still loved the game, it was a lot easier for him to be more interested in football when he had the support from his father.
The central theme in Death of a Salesman is the idea of satisfying the heart’s desires through faulty means. Willy’s desire to be a successful man, a good father, and a loving husband is, at its root, the desire of being well-liked and the want to be known as a good man. He has never actually given a thought to his own happiness as he goes through life pleasing the people around him and making relationships with those who will soon no longer be around. In Act I, he claims that “…the man who creates a personal interest is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.” (Miller 1777; act I).
Willy Loman was 'caught-up' in this American Dream. It causes business to develop in the world. Capitalism and also the profit motive and competitive instinct, makes Willy have a weakness in his personality. This weakness was caused by a combination of business pressures. Willy wants to prove himself through successes a salesman, but as he fails, his own life destroys him.
The significance of this scene is the fact that now there are no lies and his children and wife can see for themselves, how weighed down he really was by the American Dream. The American dream offered people a chance to achieve riches even if they had started penniless. Becoming wealthy in all aspects required characteristics of charisma, masculinity and competitiveness, having these meant you were on the right road to success. This could be an indication to the audience, showing us that these are the main reasons why Willy pressurizes his sons to be more successful with their personalities than their education as this is his way of living, and his way of learning how to grow up to be successful forces Willy to live his façade. “Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead.
Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The American Dream Willy believes wholeheartedly in what he considers the promise of the American Dream—that a “well liked” and “personally attractive” man in business will indubitably and deservedly acquire the material comforts offered by modern American life. Oddly, his fixation with the superficial qualities of attractiveness and likeability is at odds with a more gritty, more rewarding understanding of the American Dream that identifies hard work without complaint as the key to success. Willy’s interpretation of likeability is superficial—he childishly dislikes Bernard because he considers Bernard a nerd. Willy’s blind faith in his stunted version of the American Dream leads to his rapid psychological decline when he is unable to accept the disparity between the Dream and his own life.