Willy Loman's Failure In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

Decent Essays
The adult a child becomes is determined largely by the kind of relationship he has with his parents. If a parent pushes responsibilities on to a child, the child will avoid them. However, if a child is given no responsibilities, he will not grow up. In the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman tries to teach his children the things he isn’t able to do himself: be good at sports, take advantage of being good looking, get far in life, get rich quick, and enjoy the American Dream. Willy pushes his sons away by only focusing on the good his sons did when they were young, which gives his children no space to talk to him. The problem with Willy is that he’s made his sons into a project, so that he can live through them after he’s …show more content…
He has wandered from job to job without much success, Biff comes home to reevaluate what he’s doing with his life, and if he really wants the job he has now. None of the jobs he has had, never really made him happy. But taking this time off makes Willy think his son is a failure. Although he is making some money, it still isn’t good enough for Willy, since Biff isn’t applying himself to sales work. His reasoning, is that it is all Willy’s fault. Biff yells, “I stole myself out of every good job since high school!...And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!” (Miller 105). Biff blames his father: his father never told Biff what he could improve at, since he’d only praised him. This explains why Biff could never handle a job and being told what to do. He’d never been told what to do before, since he’d only ever been great. Being home forces Biff into physically caring for his father, while his father tries to force his values on to his son, and force Biff into a life he does not want. When he brings up working as a salesman it overjoys Willy because to him this means Biff has not failed in life, when really he has only failed Willy’s expectations of Biff growing up to have a great job.. The reason Willy is so excited about his son trying to work in sales is it means Willy can look at Biff’s …show more content…
By putting Biff on a pedestal all the time, praising his every action, Willy acts as if Happy was never there. In Willy’s first memory in the play, he and Biff are talking about football and Happy is stuck competing for his father attention. When Willy and his boys are in the yard, Happy says, “I’m losing weight, you notice, pop?” (Miller 17) But his father ignores him and continues talking with Biff. Happy tries again to gain recognition from his father, but is only further ignored. Because his father never praises him, nor told him what he can do better, Happy turns out an irresponsible and neglectful adult himself. With no expectations set by his father, Happy is raised as if he was never told he’d done wrong or right. When Happy, Biff, and Willy are in the restaurant, and Happy says Willy is not his father to the women, he does not feel bad because he really has never had a relationship with his father. This is where he differs with Biff. Although Biff has more of a relationship with his father, Happy never knew about his father’s adultery, so he sees more innocence in his father. At the end of the play, Happy is in shock about his father’s death. He doesn’t understand why his father had felt obligated to kill himself and it angers him. At Willy’s funeral, Happy says angrily, “He had no right to do that. There was no necessity for it. We would’ve helped him” (Miller 110). Obviously

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