December 30, 2013
The American Nightmare
Everyone has a big goal in life. Whether its to be famous, or have a family, or get rich, everyone plans for some end goal. In the Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman plans for the American Dream. Unfortunatly, due to his blind faith in the Dream, he spirals out of control into a rapid psychological decline where he is unable to accept the disparity between the Dream and his own life.
One of the biggest reasons Willy has such blind faith in the American Dream is because of all the abandonment in his life. When he was little, his father left him and Ben at a young age, leaving him with no finacial or historical legacy to follow. As he and Ben grew older, Ben left for Alaska, leaving Willy to develop his own warped vison of the American Dream. Willy developed a fear of abandonment, and because of that tried to force his family to conform to the American Dream to keep them close but ends up doing just the opposite. His son Biff rejects his father and his dream after he finds out he was cheating on his wife but Willy continues to try and make him into his idea of a perfect son, showing his inability to understand reality, a major factor leading to his fall and eventual death.
Willy’s primary obsession throughout the play is what he considers to be Biff’s betrayal of his ambitions for him. Willy believes that he has every right to expect Biff to fulfill the promise inherent in him. When Biff walks out on Willy’s ambitions for him, Willy takes this rejection as a personal affront. Willy, after all, is a salesman, and Biff’s ego-crushing rebuff ultimately reflects Willy’s inability to sell him on the American Dream, the product in which Willy himself believes most faithfully. Willy assumes that Biff’s betrayal stems from Biff’s discovery of Willy’s affair with The Woman, a betrayal of Linda’s love. Whereas Willy feels that Biff has betrayed him, Biff feels that Willy, a “phony little fake,” has betrayed him with his...