The Effects of Affairs
“In the stories like The Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire, both characters family and mental health are very skewed. Both characters spending most of their life trying to accomplish success but inevitably failing to send them into a type of depression. But both plays deal with the tragedy of a marriage spiraling down and partners no longer trusting each other ruining an already broken family dynamic. Now not being able to tell what is real and what is in there head.
Willy Loman, an older man kind of going through a crisis near the end of his life. He had the feeling that his life was spiraling down from his job and life goals. He starts to go into the illusion of his past. Like going through flashbacks of what he’d done and what lead him to how he is. He goes back and thinks of his affair with a mistress or that he is losing his job but still continues to work there. He put all his doubt and stress into a type of anger and arrogance, on to his family, like cutting out his son from his life after finding things out and this all leads to willy’s suicide at the end of the story.
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Willy was losing his mind in the time of the play as you can see how his life started to spiral down till his inevitable suicide at the end. 15 years before the time the play takes place Willy had an alleged affair with a mistress. And his son goes to Boston to see his father and find out that his father cheating on his mother. Biff finding out about Willy’s mistress will lead to biff not being able to succeed like how his father wants him too. Now to when the story takes place Willy’s earlier preoccupation with the state of Linda’s stockings and her mending them foreshadows the exposure and fall that the Boston incident represents. Willy has flashbacks of him giving the stocking to his mistress so every time he sees Linda fixing her stockings he gets mad. He felt guilty for doing what he did and the stocking is a symbol for that.
Blanche Dubois, like Willy she doesn’t 100% have a grasp on what is going on and is off in her own world. Blanche goes to live with her sister for a little while at the beginning of the play. she’s immersed in romantic fantasies and what starts off as harmless flights of fancy soon escalate to a dangerous level. Blanche is filled with her insecurities of wanting to stay young leaving it to where she decides to only be seen in the dark to keep the fantasy she has in her head.
Blanche uses her illusion like a defense mechanism trying to protect herself from the people who have suppressed her. Starting out with what lead to her delusion, being young and in love. “”sixteen, I made the discovery – love. All at once and much, much too completely”” (Williams, 1947). But with her first marriage didn’t end like how she wanted, learning her husband was having an affair with an older man. Blanche said that she was disgusted by her husband, that one act of cruelty leads to her late husband’s suicide. Her first husband Allan was going through a lot on his own, and he believed that Blanche was the only one who could help him but when she didn’t, he had a reason to follow through with his suicide.
People who have gone through a marriage where an affair had happened both partners go through many different mental tragedies. Damage in self-esteem:Like Blanche, she no longer stayed out in the sunlight for the fear that she would look older too and not be able to find love anymore. But that was after her late husband committed suicide. She didn’t want to seem like she was aging from that point on so that men would not see her an old and no long pretty. She did not want the world to see the ugly truth about her. She wanted to live in this fantasy and having the lights dimmed gave her that illusion.
Losing trust: Willy although was the one who had the affair his son Biff lost trust in him after finding out about his mistress. Leading him to not succeed in what his father dreamed of him doing and that leading to them both no longer trusting each other distancing themselves from one another.
Emotional instability: Blanche almost seemed bipolar, she would put on the charm when she was talking to other men. Playing this character that she put up in her head so she’d seem desirable to young men. But ultimately being depressed from all the unfortunates that happened to her in her lifetime.
An emotional rollercoaster: Willy was losing his mind his memory and his sanity. Like with his son Biff he could speak about his son in a very fond way but then as the conversation goes on he sees him as a disappointment from the lack of communication on both parties. Willy would be nice and happy at one point but then gets overwhelmed with his emotions and is yelling the next.
Lifestyle changes: Blanche after her affair went through a lot leading up to her getting sent to a mental hospital. Starting off with Blanche took to alcohol and sexual interactions with younger men. Trying to fill the void of failing with her first husband. She lost her job as a teacher for having interactions with a 17-year-old boy. And was told to move away. Blanche then went on “vacation” to visit her sister. Where her sister Stella saw what was really going on in Blanche’s head. Blanche was not okay she dealt with a lot of trauma in her life and did not respond to well to the tragedies. Blanche was very sensitive but living with her sister did not tend to what she needed. So in the end, she voluntarily goes with the strange doctor and as she leaves she says “”I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”” because as the play was going through the people she knew all betrayed her in some way at the end.
Willy, on the other hand, a loyal salesman’s to the same company he has never left, But as the years go on willy was no longer appreciated at his firm. Willy had the desire to be like his older brother from how successful he became. Willy’s job was not paying much but he stayed his work in Boston was the cause of having an affair and that was when things started to spiral down. His son no longer trusted him, his wife saw that Willy was losing his mind. Not being able to stay in what was a reality without going back into his flashbacks. Willy, later on, sees all his failures and can no longer hide from them, he regretted everything he had done during his life. He was an average salesman, couldn’t help his sons be successful, cheated on his wife and didn’t have the bond with his family like he wishes he had led him to his only solution committing suicide.
Affairs have a lasting consequence for both partners. Leaving an emotional scar and distrust that neither can fix. Blanche and Willy’s relationships all had their downs in very different ways. They both didn’t take them well but both had gone through many tragedies and dealt with them as they could.”