Death of a Salesman
Willie Lowman is a character that most anyone can identify with. He has two sides to his life; On one side he creates an image of being successful, well liked, and bold. On the other side he feels old, unsuccessful, defeated and disliked. He maintains the successful image to comfort his wife and friends. This veil of success becomes thinner and thinner until he lingers between fantasy and reality of the cruel world, often changing back and forth in the course of a conversation. The core of Willie^s slow painful demise into nothingness is based upon his beliefs. Willie thinks that success is not what you know, but who he knows and how well he is liked. These beliefs he instills in his sons, who find themselves adrift and meaningless just like their father. In addition Willie sees the world changing, and his own inability to change with it, will seal his fate. He misses the open land and the smell of flowers in the summer, the pollution and high rise apartments add to Wil! lies dismal existence. An example of Willies shift from fantasy to reality is during his conversation with his wife about the Chevy. He thinks the car is fantastic, the best ever built. Later he and his wife discuss some bills that were paid, and when told about the bill to get the Chevy^s carburetor fixed, he says that they ought to prohibit the manufacture of the car. Willie Lowman is finding himself less and less capable. He dreams of making it big and has visions of Uncle Ben who gives him advice on how to get rich, but never the kind of advice Willie wants to hear. Willie is concerned about his image. He is a great showman who can brag and flaunt like the best of them, and as witness to the hard truth of his failure he continues to weave fairy tales and live in fantasy. Willie wants his sons to be better off and more successful than him, but he has already corrupted them, and they too claim achievements well beyond reality. Biff comes to the reality of his position in life in the opening of the play. He knows he is not cut out for the business world. Biff prefers to move back to Texas and work on a farm. Although he realizes working on the farm won^t make him successful, he knows that it^s his calling in life. Happy who is fairly stable and comfortable in his work, prefers to continue with the charade, and the deception so as long as it! makes life easier for him. Although his sons will not be successful, I think Willie Lowman did the best he could. Willie is not to blame for his sons disappointments, although he has delayed their success by giving them false ideas about success. The family situation is that of the standard dysfunctional family. The mother is upset by her sons because they have no respect for Willie and show no concern for his decline. Willie loves his wife, but often mistreats her, cuts he off in mid conversation and belittles her. Biff begins to hate his father because of the constant pressure to succeed, along with his fathers adultery and abuse of his mother. However Biff still cares very deeply for his father deep down inside. Willie^s favorite son is Biff; however Biff is also a continual source of disappointment for his father because of his inability to assert himself in the business world. Happy is most like his father in the way that he much prefers fantasy over reality. Happy is willing to continue with pretending everything is all right so as long as it makes life easier. The conflict is Willie versus nature. Nature being the environment and Willies inability to change and conform to it^s dynamic and changing nature. The characters in this play are easily understood because of their similarity to most people who find themselves washed up in this game called life. People watching the play can easily identify with these characters who represent the average working class family. Nobody wins in the end because it^s real life. The father kills himself, hoping that the insurance money will send his family on their way to success; and in actuality the insurance money from his death will heal no wounds, or right any wrongs.