Discussing The Analysis Of Success In Arthur Miller's "Death Of A Salesman"

864 words - 4 pages

Success is one of many themes in "Death Of A Salesman". There are many perspectives of what success is and how to achieve it. Arthur Miller uses the beliefs of several characters, especially Willy, to illustrate various concepts of success, how to achieve it, and the correlation between happiness and success.Willy believes that one can be a success only if one has a business-related job. He criticizes Biff's ideal job . He says: "How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? ... it's more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!" (pg. 11). This is Willy's only rationale for saying that Biff is not yet a success. From this, one can conclude that ...view middle of the document...

Ben, Willy's deceased brother, was a successful businessman. It is no coincidence that Ben fulfilled the elusive "American dream". He used ruthless tactics and cutthroat strategies. One can see these qualities when Ben said: "Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way."(pg. 38). Ben is a perfect foil for Willy because Ben knows that one cannot prosper in the business world only by being popular and handsome. Ben appears in Willy's daydreams and is the success symbol that Willy wants his sons to emulate. Ben was successful because he was clever, intelligent, persistent, and diligent.Willy ridiculed Charley's son, Bernard, because he always studied instead of playing. Regardless, Bernard was friends with Willy's sons. When Biff was failing math, Bernard advised him to study before playing and suggested that he attend summer school. The two are each other's foils because Bernard became successful by working hard and Biff failed because he was a "lazy bum" (pg. 11). Bernard's success is hard for Willy because his sons never measured up.Howard, a minor character in the play, was Willy's employer. He was successful because he does not live through somebody else. When Howard's father employed Willy, he made promises to Willy but Howard did not honour his father's...

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