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Explore The Love Between Parent And Children In Death Of A Salesman

653 words - 3 pages

Death of a Salesman is centred on the relationships within the Loman family as they realise the cruel nature of the consumerist world of late 1940s America, where the American dream was a lost hope for many.
Biff’s love of his father is physically manifested in the action of crying towards the end of the play. When Biff ‘breaks down, sobbing’ it is clear that his epiphany has made him realise his love for his father, but he does not want to continue the delusion that the whole family subscribe to. It is maybe more telling that the stage directions then suggest a ‘long pause, astonished, elevated’ reaction from Willy, showing that the love between this father and son is not explicit and thus Willy did not know it before. Miller’s use of ‘remarkable’ in Willy’s speech imply that Willy genuinely does not think that his sons love him until this point in the play and thus ...view middle of the document...

Therefore Miller uses the love between Willy and Biff to propel Willy’s decision to commit suicide for the perverse benefits his sons will receive. It is out of love that Willy Loman commits suicide to ensure that Biff has enough money, through the insurance claims, to help him set up a business and achieve the American Dream, which Willy failed to achieve. Consequently the implicit love that Willy has for Biff is shown more through his actions rather than his speech throughout the play.
There is an apparent lack of love between Charley and Bernard in the play which seems to link to Bernard’s success. The fact that Charley has not invested any of his hopes, or projected his failings onto his son, like Willy has done means that their relationship seems more businesslike. This can be seen by Charley’s parenting skills, where he ‘never took any interest in anything’, showing that rather than investing everything in his children like Willy has done, he hoped for nothing so that he would be happy with the result regardless of how successful Bernard was. Thus, when Bernard succeeds and has a job in the Supreme Court, he has got there by striving to be the best in order to please his father and has the encouragement, unlike Biff, who disappointed his father when he failed his maths.

Biff’s love for his father is apparent through the way in which he describes Willy to Miss Forsythe. Miller’s choice of ‘fine, troubled prince’ elevates Willy to a higher social standing, perhaps where he is aiming for in life. In addition, the remark has connotations of a Shakespearean tragic hero, such as Hamlet. Whereas Shakespeare’s heroes are from noble birth and have a characteristic flaw which eventually kills them, Willy is from an ordinary, working class background to show that it is the anonymous people who support a system that the system rejects. Miller’s choice to make Willy an ordinary man is reflected his choice of name; the use of Loman suggests that Willy has a low status within society.

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