Movie “The Death of a Salesman”

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Updated: Mar 07, 2023
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In the movie, The Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman is a businessman from New York City. He has a concerned but loving wife, Linda, and his two sons, Happy and Biff. Willy is a man with a vision to live out the American Dream. Happy and Biff were raised to be charming men and to live out their father’s legacy. However, their father’s expectations and essential need for money result in their failure.

Willy Loman is a money driven, ambitious, delusional salesman.

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Willy has always strived towards a lavish, prosperous and wealthy lifestyle for himself and his family. Willy believes his self-worth and value is determined by how many friends he has and how much money he makes. Willy failed to successfully achieve his goal, therefore, he invests his expectancy of life and his dreams through his sons. Biff, his eldest son, is a vagrant man who is a kleptomaniac. Biff witnessed his father, Willy, spending his whole life yearning for money. Thus, making money essential. Biff’s want for money to meet his father’s expectations of the life he envisioned his sons to have result in his impulse in stealing and Biff’s constant loss of jobs. Biff becomes overwhelmed by his father’s unrealistic expectations and proceeds to act on his inclination to move out. Since, Biff proceeded to live unsatisfied with himself and was incapable of living an appeased life due to his father’s maladjusted personality traits and visions that were implemented in him.

Happy, Willy’s youngest son, is a charismatic and charming young man. Happy inhabits his father’s longing for everyone’s approval and success. Happy is an ambitious philander. He copes with his need to be liked by womanizing his superior’s significant others. Happy also indwells his father’s delusional personality. Although Happy is an assistant to the assistant buyer at his job, he represents himself as an extensively relevant person as if he was the actual assistant buyer. His father’s society approving personality instills abominable work ethics and morals, resulting in Happy’s one-dimensional, deranged, sex induced personality.

Money is an essential necessity in the Loman family. Willy, along with his son’s Happy and Biff, live a life striving for money in hopes to achieve the “American Dream”. Willy’s failure to achieve his dream results in his delusions. Willy constantly gets in to car accidents which become interpreted as suicide attempts. Willy’s mind is deranged in a fallacy world where he is living the lavish life he constantly yearned for. To Willy, the amount of money a person has represents their self-worth and value. Willy’s mindset results in his contemplation of his life. Willy’s life insurance is worth twenty-five thousand dollars. Willy felt like while he was alive he was useless and invaluable. However, if he were dead, he knew his insurance money would be left to his family as his legacy and he would be worth more. This began his constant suicidal car accident attempts. Although his sons began to plan a business to achieve their father’s dreams and were relying on loans, their father was still unsatisfied. When Biff expresses to his father that he dreams to be a cowboy, his father refused to accept this as his reality. Thus, resulting in his own suicide. Willy believed if he were dead he would be of more value to his son and that his insurance money would be help Biff start a business. Willy’s death represented the fallacy of money being they key to a happy life and left behind not success, but rather, devastation.

Happiness is interpreted in different ways to everybody. To some, happiness is family and love. To the Loman family, it was their financial success and how popular they were among others. Willy Loman spent his whole life trying to become wealthy and be liked by others. His overwhelming materialistic perception of life not only affected him into delusion but resulted in his sons’ failures. Money became so glorified and essential in the Loman family. Willy killed himself to provide the money he believed would being happiness to his family, however, he left behind a lonely broken home rather that a legacy.

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Movie "The Death of a Salesman". (2021, Jan 25). Retrieved from