Death Of A Salesman: The Tragic Anti-hero Of Willy Loman Essay, Research Paper
A Success at Failure: The Tragic Anti-hero of Willy Loman?A hundred years from now, it will not matter what type of car I drove, or what kind of house I lived in, or the amount of money I made, yet the world might be changed because I made a positive difference in the life of a child.? This increasingly popular statement raises a question for those who might hear it: how does one impact a child?s life for the better? A most obvious response would be to simply be a good parent. Yet, with single mothers raising a family alone, good fathers are scarce. What exactly, then, makes a good father? A good father is one who will encourage and motivate his child, yet not force the child to do something that the child strongly does not want to do. He will discipline his son or daughter in love, but never solely out of anger. He will set an example for his child, being willing to admit his faults and striving to always do what is right. And he will show consistent, unconditional love for his child, never basing his adoration on his son or daughter?s achievements, mistakes, or ambitions. A good father will strive to always do what is best for his family. He will put his desires last, ensuring that his family is well cared for and not lacking for any necessities. And, most importantly, a good father will make his family his number one priority, coming before his work, his friends, or even himself. In Arthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is a textbook example of a failure as a good father in every way mentioned previously. Not only is Willy Loman not a good father and husband, but he furthers his failure by being a classic anti-hero and by failing to achieve the American Dream.
Willy is not a good father for many reasons. First and foremost, he has made his occupation his number one priority. For years, he has traveled for his business so frequently that he has never had the opportunity to truly get to know his own sons. As a result, he cannot love them as a father should; his love for Biff has been based on his achievements as an athlete, and, when Biff loses his scholarship, Willy is so devastated that he no longer loves Biff as he once did. He is, in fact, disgusted that Biff has become a cattle herder. He wants Biff to be the success that he never was, and feels that Biff will not achieve success in the occupation he has. Furthermore, Willy is unable to admit his faults. His pride is so great that he even lies to his own family, borrowing money weekly and then saying it is his salary. He tried, in the past, to justify his affair with a strange woman when caught by Biff. He will not admit that he has made mistakes, for he will not sacrifice his pride. In all respects, Willy has failed to be a good father, or even a father of mediocrity. Instead, as a father, he is a pathetic and selfish failure, which is furthermore defined in every other aspect of his life.
Moreover, Willy is a textbook example of an anti-hero. He has never been successful, even in his prime, yet lives in a daydream of the ?good old days?, refusing to accept reality. The reader therefore strives not to be like the protagonist, but rather, unlike him. He is not respected, even by his sons, and most frequently is disregarded by those around him. Even at his funeral, the only people who attend are his wife, his two sons, and his neighbor, Charley. He never achieved the love of those he interacted with, never gained any honor, and completed his life as a failure, never gaining success in business or in life. Any reader would desire to be, rather than all that Willy Loman was, all that Willy Loman was not.
Finally, Willy fails magnificently at achieving the American Dream. Throughout America?s history, immigrants have come to the United States hoping for a life of prosperity and success, but furthermore, hoping to at the same time take pride in what they do and to enjoy it. In all respects, Willy does not achieve the American Dream. Both affluence and fruition are complete strangers to him, while he sees those around him enjoying a life of well being. He has no pride in what he does, although he masks these emotions. In truth, he is so embarrassed that he cannot make a single sale or earn a single dollar that he begins borrowing fifty dollars a week from Charley, and then pretending it is his salary. He lies to his family and to himself. He will not allow himself to do what he truly loves to do, carpentry, because he believes that it is more illustrious to be an unsuccessful salesman than be a satisfied carpenter. He therefore fails miserably at the true American Dream, exchanging it for an unachievable fantasy.
Willy Loman is a failure as a family man, is an anti-hero, and never achieves the American Dream. His life is an example of true downfall, which affects all of those close to him. By living in an illusion, Willy guaranteed that he would be unable to achieve all that he thought he should. As a result, his death is the final confirmation of his failed life, and reiterates everything that is stressed in Miller?s play. Truly, success could never be achieved in his life, even if he had made multitudes of sales. By giving up his dreams and true desires, Willy Loman died long before he crashed his car, and that led him to become every bit the failure that he will always be remembered as.