Last Updated 17 May 2021

Death of a Salesman Family Relationships

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Battle between Father and Son Family relationships always have a way of playing a key role for the duration of most literary pieces. According to Arthur Miller’s novel, Death of a Salesman, the interaction of Willy and his sons, Happy and Biff, shows that family ties usually are connected either physically or emotionally in some way or another. Willy Loman is just like every father in a father/son bond, yet all he wants is to be a part of his son’s life.

Even though Biff and Happy admire and have so much love for their father when they are younger, later down the road when they are older suddenly they realize he had failed to prepare them for the real society in life. Many people would say that in the play that the father/son relationship would be considered merely ironic. In a sense, one might consider that a poor relationship stems more from the lack of love and attention from the father. With that in mind however, the Loman family’s circumstances would be considered the complete and utter opposite.

Ever since the day Willy Lomans’ first son was born, he vowed for his life goal to be the perfect father (1214). Throughout his life, he becomes enthralled with becoming the absolute ideal father, so to speak. It’s displayed through Willy’s actions and even his words that all he wishes for his son’s is for them to be what he sees as successful (1216). Although Willy may not be considered the best salesman out there, he has the constant urge to keep believing he needs to keep trying harder in order to give off the impression to people that he’s an excellent provider.

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With all his troubles, sacrifices he makes, and even his final suicide they all end up being for his sons, and not nearly for himself. Father Loman’s constant need to try and better his way of becoming a perfect father to his son’s drives him to believe that if he commits suicide he could better provide a different life that he wished he could’ve given to his son’s (1277). From the first line to the last, Willy had the instinct to think that if he did so much for his boy’s he had hoped that someday he would be considered an even greater father than his own was by making the so many sacrifices he did.

All Willy really wants is to be a part of his son’s lives and, Miller shows this by the example of when in the play Biff comes home to recollect himself, Willy seems to think this as a failure because he would rather see his eldest son be likely more successful rather than his youngest, Happy. Hereafter, Willy tries to take matter into his own hands, ‘I’ll get him a job selling, he could be big in no time’, he says to Linda (1215). Partially due to Willy’s consistency in Biff’s life conflicts start to erupt more partially to do with the fact being that they had different ideas of what the ‘American Dream” really is.

With Biff believing that the most inspiring job to a man is working outdoors, his father disregarded by saying that working on the road selling was the greatest job a man could possibly have (1276). The boys are clearly not at all fully functioning adults because of their upbringing throughout their life. Another major issue in the play with the father/son relationship between Willy and his sons is the amount of love shown towards them. The continuous support from growing up had molded the Lomans into men who always fled back home whenever a problem approached.

Biff says to Willy, ‘I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could not stand taking orders from anybody! ’ (1275). The Loman brothers were babied so much all through their childhood they never got a real chance of growing up and trying to choose for themselves of what they really wanted in their own lives. Being raised to only know to want one thing like selling, for example, puts pressure on everyone else especially the eldest, Biff.

In real life today we are faced with decisions of what is next after high school; In Death of a Salesman, Biff was pressured primarily from his father to be a famous football player but then when things turn for the worst he suddenly loses everything and nothing to live for but selling like his father, which is not his true idea of what the ‘American Dream’ is supposed to be. The father/son bond in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, leads to a tragedy of downfall in the Loman family.

Willy’s longing effort to be the perfect father did not have much success for him in the life he tried to accomplish living. Once finding out that he still had his sons’ love he was immediately overwhelmed with it all. Suicide was Willy’s last resort to try and make up for what he wasn’t able to provide for his son’s growing up to give them the money from the accident. His immediate departure in the end left Happy, Linda, and Biff in despair and uncertainty of what was really going on through Willy’s thought process.

Death of a Salesman Family Relationships essay

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