Death Of A Salesman

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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In the play "Death of a Salesman"� by Arthur Miller, reality and illusion is a major theme and source of conflict. Willy, main character of the play, has a hard time distinguish between reality and illusion. His flashbacks, mostly back to the time when Biff was still in his high school year, always overlap with the present days. He cannot see who he and his sons are. He believes his elder son, Biff, and his youngest son, Happy, are great and successful and cannot accept the fact that they are not. Biff cannot see the illusion Willy lives in, as well as the reality he is in until the end of the play. Happy, on the other hand, is like another Willy who cannot see the reality and is always trying to redeem himself in his parent's eyes. Linda, who is Willy's wife, knows Willy is unhappy and is near the end of his life, but tries her best to make Willy happy and keep the peace in the Loman's family.

The conflict between Willy and Biff is the main material of the play. Willy wants Biff to be a successful man and be rich. On the other hand, Biff has an internal struggle between pleasing his father and doing what he feels is right. Biff has this struggle for fifteen years. He flunked math during his senior year and was not allowed to graduate; however, he was going to make it up in summer school but in the meantime, he caught Willy being unfaithful to Linda. This shock ruins everything Biff believes in. The Willy he used to know is just a "fake"� (58). He used to believe in his father and his value, but after that point, he doesn't respect his father anymore and was lost for fifteen...



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