Faded Dreams Essay, Research Paper
In the play Death of a Salesman Willy Loman who is the salesman, was mainly concerned with the success of his family. He set his goals and expectations for himself and his sons that were so high that they were impossible to reach. Willy was reaching for the American dream. He wanted to live in a great neighborhood, he wanted to have his own business, and he wanted his sons to be successful He wanted the perfect life. Unfortunately people don?t always get what they want. Instead of the American dream Willy got reality. He was sixty-three years old and was not as successful as he had hoped to be. Willy was a failure. He was a failure as a father, a husband and a businessman and all his hopes and dreams had faded as well as his grip on what was reality and what was fantasy.
In the beginning of the play Arthur Miller draws attention to the lighting, scenery and landscape of Willy Loman?s house. There ?towering angular shapes behind the house, surrounding it on all sides. Only the blue light of the sky falls upon the house?a solid vault of apartment houses are around the small fragile-seeming home?(1458). The first scene focuses on Willy?s feelings about the changes that have taken place in his neighborhood. He exclaims that he feels boxed in around the towering apartment buildings and that he can no longer smell the sweetness of the air only ?bricks and windows, windows and bricks. In a lost state of mind he tells his wife how he is constantly thinking of the days from the past when the neighborhood was fresh with the smell of flowers blooming. He reminisced about the time when him and Biff hung a swing between the two beautiful elm trees that the apartment builders cut down His dream to be away from the city had faded like the light that surrounded his house.
Willy drifts in and out of reality so often in the play that it was hard for the reader to know what was real, in his mind, and what was fantasy or a lie. According to Willy Loman he himself was a great salesman. When he was young he brought his company a lot of business. He was a success. He was even given the honor of naming Wagner?s son Howard. He was moving up in the firm. He was sure that Wagner, his boss, would put him in charge of the New York office. He never expected that one day his job would be obsolete.
In earlier days the only way to get a glimpse of new products was to do it face to face. But as times change so does technology. Willy?s job was being replaced by technology and his pride blinded him to this fact. Willy could not face the reality that he was no longer the great salesman that he had once been. Ultimately Willy was fired from his job at Wagner. He confided in Charley, the person who gave him money every week so that his wife Linda would think that he had earned it. Charley even offered Willy a job but he turned it down. Unable to swallow his pride he concocts a notion that he is worth more dead than he is alive.
Willy wanted to die the death of a salesman. When Willy was younger he set out to find his father instead he met a man named Dave Singleton. According to Willy, Dave was a great salesman. He die at he age of eight-four. He was given a great burial, according to Willy, ?hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral?he died the death of a salesman?(1498). In Willy?s mind this was the way to die with lots of people from all over to mourn the great Willy Loman. Then he would have the respect and the admiration that he thought he deserved. With no money, no job, and no hope at all, Willy?s dreams of being a successful businessman faded along with his will to live.
Biff and Happy were Willy?s sons. Biff is described as a well-built man but in his later year he looks a bit worn. He is the older of the two sons. Biff is a high school drop out and a drifter. ?He has succeeded less, and his dreams are stronger and less acceptable than Happy?s?(1463). Happy is described as tall, and robust. ? He, like his brother, is lost, but in a different way, for he has never allowed himself to turn his face toward defeat and is thus more confused?(1463).
Willy had such high expectations for his sons; especially Biff. However Biff was not successful like Willy had planned. Biff was a common thief. Throughout Willy?s ramblings about the past he brings up the fact that Biff and Happy are always taking things that don?t belong to them, but he never mentions the punishment for their actions. He was always making excuses for them ?I gave them hell, understand. But I got a couple of fearless characters? Willy boasted to Charley after one of his boys last pillages. The reader can decipher that Willy, in his old age, realizes that his boys were and still are nothing but common. They would never be successful and that perhaps he was to blame. But as he tries to grip reality about his boys the lie that he has told himself for years out weights the truth- his boys will never amount to anything.
In the end Willy takes his own life. He is in frenzy, fighting with reality and fantasy until reality wins. He can not face the truth about his life and thus he ends it. But who is to blame for the decision Willy made to take his own life. Willy is to blame. He let his dreams take over what was reality. And the reality of life was that the only way to reach the American dream is to work hard at it and Willy did not do that. Willy wanted everything easy for himself and his boys. He felt that good looks and a charming personality was all that he and his boys would need to become successful. When reality began to fade out his dream Willy Loman did what he thought to be a last noble effort to make sure that his family achieved success. He took his life
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