The Many Faces Of Death Essay, Research Paper
The Many Faces of Death
Death is seemingly a defined term, but its not. Through usage of language can be made to
represent physical, spiritual or emotional death. Only by closely examining the exact language
used can one understand the death taking place, and the effects that stream into everyone?s life.
Willy Loman dies, this is known to be true. He crashes his car in order to show Biff how
important he was and to provide money for his wife. We see the funeral, we know he has died,
but could he have died before he hit the tree? If he did die before the crash when? Where? And
how often did it happen? Could he resurrect himself? The answers lie hidden in the words of
Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman.
Willy suffers the death of his spirit. It seems to fluctuate in himself, he will be down on
life then suddenly perk up, but he always returns to having no hope. ?I?m tired to death. I
couldn?t make it. I just couldn?t make it Linda.?(13) is what Willy says to Linda after coming
home from his failed attempt to get to New England. He?s dejected, feeling worthless, and
though he casually mentions it, death is on his mind. While explaining the problems on his trip
Willy says ?…So I went on again- and five minutes later I?m dreamin? again, and I nearly- I have
such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts.?(14) This quote shows his desperation, his thoughts
of crossing the line and ending it all. It all seems like too much for him to handle, until he has
something he can look forward too, whether it be fantasy or reality.
When Willy thinks Biff might have a chance to make it big, his whole demeanor changes.
?I?ll see him in the morning; I?ll have a nice talk with him. I?ll get him a job selling. He could be
big in no time?(16) This new life felt by Willy, though it may make him happy, only adds to the
death of his dreams when reality falls on him like a hail storm, pelting him from every direction
with the bitter harshness of the truth he has tried to hide from. Willy?s world comes crashing
down on the night in the restaurant. He tells his sons he was fired and that he?s looking for
something good to tell his wife when he goes home. His world is already falling apart when Biff
tries to tell him what happened and that he?s no good, but Willy wants to hear good news so bad
that he practically ignores Biff, and forms his own story with the help of Happy, who is content to
watch his father die the death of lost hope. ?I was wondering if he?d remember you. Imagine,
man doesn?t see him for ten twelve years and gives him that kind of a welcome!?(107) said Willy,
?Damn right!?(107) adds Happy even though he knows the truth. Willy?s hope for good news
overrides the truth, causing him to lose control on the situation, and he flashes back to the night in
the hotel when Biff saw the other woman in his life.
When Biff walked in and found the other woman with his father he lost his faith in Willy,
but the experience was worse for Willy. It showed him that he was a fraud all along, he had failed
in everything he tried. His father sold flutes and made money, his brother walked into a jungle at
17 and came out at 21 and by god he was rich. Willy was nothing but a lying cheating husband
with feelings of grander. This death, the death of his pride in himself, left him nothing, he became
a shell of a man. A man who finds solace in his illusions and fantasies.
The death of a salesman is not his crashing the car, because he was deal long before that
?accident?. He died the day he lost his self-respect, and the love of his son.
Miller, Arthur “Death of a Salesman”