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Research paper topic: Death - 1317 words
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Death Of Salesman By Miller "Willy as a hero or a villain?" A large controversy that revolves around the play "Death of a Salesman" is whether or not Willy Loman was actually a hero or a villain in the story. It certainly cannot be said that he is really one or the other because of the evidence that is given throughout. At some times he seems the pitiful victim of other people's actions but at others he seems to have only himself to blame. Most don't know whether to feel sorry for him or to hate him. Although there seems to be evidence to support both ideas, there seems to be more pointing in the direction of the latter. Willy's first fault concentrates around the affair that he had.
Maybe when it first started he had only intended it to be a business relationship, but it didn't end up that way. Somewhere along the line he let it go further and then didn't break it off. Many things came of that one affair, that only he caused. First, is the fact that his son, Biff, caught him doing it, and was basically scarred for life from it. It was Willy's fault that Biff didn't attend summer school and, as a result, didn't graduate from high school. Second, is the fact that he was cheating on his wife, therefore being dishonest with her.
Along with that, was how he treated her all the time at home, almost like she was incredibly inferior to him. Part of it had to do with the fact that he was having an affair, which made him ashamed, the other part was sheer ignorance. He felt that he couldn't face her because of what he was doing behind her back. The affair that he created was a large part of why Willy could not possibly be thought of as a hero. The second reason why Willy Loman cannot be considered a hero was that he basically encouraged lying. He set the example by doing it himself and also by coming right out and telling his boys that sometimes it was okay to.
Willy lied to his wife about the affair, never actually saying that he wasn't having one, but never telling her that he was. He also lied to his whole family about his business. He bragged constantly about all of the people he knew and the contacts that he had made throughout the years, as a salesman. When actually, he wasn't a great salesman and had no contacts anywhere. Willy's habitual lying to his family was another one of his major faults.
Any man who lies to his family and cheats on his wife can certainly not be considered a hero. Villain may be a strong word but, it fits Willy Loman much better that hero. He seemed like he want to do right by his family but he never seemed to do it, always falling short somehow, mostly through no one's fault but his own. Essay #3 "flashbacks explain Willy's motivation" Arthur Miller seems to emphasize the use of frequent flashbacks in "Death of a Salesman" to explain what motivates Willy during his lifetime. Most of Willy's history was revealed through the flashbacks that he had throughout the story.
Without them, Miller would have had to find another way to tell the readers about Willy's history. Many of them tell the reader why his sons were the way they were and why he treated them the way he did. They also showed the reasons why Willy was as pathetic as he was. One of the main reasons Miller includes so many flashbacks in the story is to help the reader understand Willy's feelings towards his sons. The very first flashback is of Willy talking to Biff and Happy during Biff's senior year. Biff is telling him about the touchdown that he's going to score for his father and how proud he's going to be of him.
The reader also sees Happy trying to tell his father about how he's losing some weight, but Willy doesn't pay any attention to him, showing the beginning of Happy's slight resentment because of Willy's favoritism towards Biff. During that same flashback, the reader also sees Willy telling his sons about the people he knows and how they should try to make a lot of contacts also. This is the first time it is evident to the reader that he says these things, but it probably wasn't the first time he actually said it. Just in that first flashback, Miller gives a lot of background information for the reader to go on. Another flashback that had great meaning in why Willy treated Biff the way he did, was when the reader found Willy in the hotel with "The Woman". The first thing evident is that Willy is absolutely having an affair.
There was question in the mind of the reader when Willy imagined her in the kitchen with Linda a few scenes earlier, but that scene made it real. The reader comes into the picture when a person is banging on the door, Willy doesn't want to open it but the woman insists. Willy then goes to the door and finds Biff standing on the other side. He comes in and all is fine until the woman comes out laughing and saying, "Where's my stockings? You promised me stockings, Willy!" Biff hears it all and then knows that his father is having an affair. They then have a confrontation and Biff says that he's not going to summer school so that he can graduate.
That may not seem that important but Willy blamed himself for Biff's not graduating and seemed to be trying to make it up to him for the rest of his life. That scene gave Willy most of his motivation or lack-thereof for the rest of the story. He always tried to make it up to Biff and tried to hide it from Linda and Happy, all the while feeling ashamed of himself. Lastly, there are many flashbacks that have to do with his brother, Ben. It seems that Ben was the only one that ever took Willy seriously.
That much the reader could see by the way Ben always referred to him as "William" and not "Willy" as everyone else did. Through these particular flashbacks it is learned that Willy passed up the opportunity to travel with Ben to Alaska and then to Africa, where he made a lot of money. It seems that Willy regretted not going with him and was always trying to do things to live up to Ben's standards. That constant trying motivated Willy to do well throughout his life. The purpose of the periodic flashbacks in the play is to give the reader a small look into the background of Willy Loman and to try to explain why he was who he was.
They effectively told the reader some of Willy's personal motivation and maybe explained some of the feelings he had towards his sons. Essay #5 "unable to practice what he preaches" One of the main concepts that Arthur Miller wanted to get across to the readers of "Death of a Salesman" was the fact that the main character, Willy Loman, seemed unable to "practice what he preached". Willy only wanted the best for his two sons, Biff and Happy, always telling them to do good, but never setting the example himself. He always told them both to do everything they could to be the best they could and that it always helped to know and be in good contact with a lot of people, letting on that that was the way he did things. But he really didn't. Willy Loman always told his sons, "It's all in who you know, boys" even though he really didn't know anyone. Towards the beginning of the play Willy was ta ...
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