Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller

In the play Death of A Salesman written by Arthur Miller, Willy feels that his sons are not as successful as they should be for their age and that they lack vision and that they should be more aggressive in their search for success citing himself as an example of a man to look up to. He also feels this especially towards Biff who he thinks was doing particularly well until he went on to campus and failed his mathematics and thus never finished it. The psychological context is also brought out by the fact that Willy’s family and friends feel that he is losing his sanity (Miller 15). Happy and Biff discuss the mental degradation of their father but do not bring this out to him since they feel that he would not accept what they are telling him, his wife Linda is also aware of his mental problems but won’t tell him either because she is trying to unite the family which already appears on the verge of splitting up. Willy’s problems do however show themselves when he gets into an argument with his boss Howard over the rejection of his application for a town job. Willy loses his temper over a trivial matter showing his volatility and the dangers of depression. Willy’s spiral into depression is also shown by his constant hallucinations. He constantly hallucinates of his past years of success such as 1928 when he was driving a red Chevrolet (Miller 13) of having conversations with his older brother as well point to his dementia. The constant hallucinations are thought to be a defense mechanism for the harsh realities that he is facing and were to prevent the onset of full-scale depression, this, however, is not avoided as at the end of the play he still succumbs to it and commits suicide.

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