Death of a Salesman
The play Death of a Salesman (DOAS) by Arthur Miller, written in 1949, focuses on the life and actions of the Loman family in the heart of Brooklyn. The man of the house Willy and his two sons Biff and Happy are the most interesting of the bunch, since they are very much alike on the surface, but oh-so different on the inside.
Willy Loman, the main protagonist (and antagonist) of DOAS, is your usual patriotic father. He is an insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman, with big dreams. Throughout the play, details about Willy’s childhood are not fully divulged. However, during the "memory scene" between Willy and his brother Ben, the audience learns a few bits of information. He was born in the late 1870s. (We learn that he is 63 in Act One). His nomadic father and family roamed across the country in a wagon. According to Ben, their father was a great inventor, but he doesn't specify what sort of gadgets he created, with the exception of his hand-crafted flutes. Willy remembers being a toddler, sitting around a fire and listening to his father play the flute. It is one of his only memories about his father.
Sometime during Willy's early adulthood, he meets and marries Linda. They live in Brooklyn and raise two sons, Biff and Happy. As a father, Willy Loman offers his sons terrible advice. For example, this is what the old salesman tells teenage Biff about women: "Willy: Just wanna be careful with those girls, Biff, that's all. Don't make any promises. No promises of any kind. Because a girl, y'know, they always believe what you tell 'em." This attitude is adopted all too well by his sons. Happy grows up to become a womanizer who sleeps with women who are engaged to his managers. Several times during the play, Happy promises that he is going to get married, but it is a flimsy lie that no one takes seriously.
Willy's constant movement from the present to the past results in his contradictory nature. Although he fondly remembers Biff as a...