The Death Of The Salesman
The Death of the Salesman
All people have a past. The past that sometimes people never want those close to them learn about. Sometimes we hide the truth from those close to us to protect ourselves. Sometimes the actions are so bad, we want to convince ourselves that what we did was right. We try to believe a lie. After making and believing the lie, people then want to impose the lie on the others. They want them to believe a particular thing. Sometimes people end up believing and living a lie. But it doesn’t take much time before the lie catches up with them. This paper is going to address how one person’s action can affect an entire family. It will explain this by showing how an individual acts, deals with a particular action, and the effects it has on the individual and those around him.
The family in the play consists of four members; the mother, father, and two sons. The father is Willy, his wife is Linda, their first son is Biff and the second one is Happy. Willy is a business. His wife is a house wife. Willy and Biff were so close. Biff believed everything his father told him to be true. From his father’s words, he knew he could do anything he wanted to do, or could be anything he wanted to be. All this, however, changed when Biff learnt on his father’s infidelity.
The thing about life is that it keeps on changing. New things keep coming each day; changes in the personal life, family, society and the community at large. Changes are also common in the lifestyles people lead. To manage to keep up, people should learn to adjust to changes. There is no need to deny changes. Willy lived a life of denial. He could change any story to fit what he wanted to believe. Happy, his second son, has also taken this character from his father. Happy happens to be an assistant to an assistant buyer. However, when he is delivering the information, he says that he is an assistant buyer. He, therefore, distorts information to fit what he wants to believe and to give people a particular picture of himself.
Willy had had an affair earlier. He had also tried committing suicide on several occasions. His wife knew about his infidelity and his suicide attempts. He never disclosed any of this information to the kids. She was protecting Willy. She knew that if the children learnt of their father’s actions, they would disrespect him. She also knew that they wouldn’t believe him any longer. Therefore, when Biff learnt of his father’s actions, what his mother had always hoped would never happen, happened.
When a secret is out, people begin to lose trust with each other. Biff and Willy had arguments all the time after Biff learnt the truth. He never believed his father anymore. When Willy also learnt that Biff had learnt of his actions, he wanted his relationship with Biff to remain constant. He never wanted Biff to change his attitude towards him. It was however too late. As a defense mechanism, he turned against Biff. He never acknowledged anything that he did. He stated that Biff was lazy. He explained that he had worked on the farm for several years yet he couldn’t make thirty-five dollars a week (Arthur, 1563).
To make it in life, people need to have dreams and goals. People then work with the aim of attaining the different dreams and goals. It is however expected that not all dreams will be met, while others will be met halfway. It is, however, wrong to lie to people of your achievements simply to make it look as though one has achieved their goals. It is not clear what kind of sales Willy was doing. We, however, understand that at some point Willy was successful as a salesperson. His success motivated his sons and they believed in him. He was their mentor. However, he was not always successful in his sales job. He however never admitted that he was not doing very well in his work, yet it was evident that things were not okay as they were before.
The weaknesses or lies people deny or hide eventually catches up with them. As Willy ages, his job becomes less productive. He, however, still has a dream of success. Since it is impossible to be more productive, he begins to remember his success in the past. He begins to live the past. For this reason, it becomes difficult for him to live with other people. He alienates himself from the society and his family. He begins to lead a lonely life. He eventually commits suicide (Arthur, 1674). His suicide was caused by his past actions that he couldn’t let go. He held on to the past till it ate him up and had him commit suicide, even after his wife tried to protect him from this kind of end.
The family set up is important for an individual. A person borrows most of their character from those around them, the first ones being family members. A single family member can dictate their actions, beliefs or performance to other family members. Sometimes a family member may realize that what one of the other family members isn’t right. However, they are afraid to make them see the truth. They make them believe that they also believe the lie. Sometimes people do this to protect the lives or the emotions of their loved ones. It is evident that one person’s action can have a great effect, not only on themselves, but also on those around them.
Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman. 1949.” New York and London: Viking Penguin (1976)
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