Discussion Post on Arthur Miller

Biff`s statement about his father in the Requiem for Death of a salesman, he argues that Willy Loman “had the wrong dreams” and that he did not know who he was is supported in the last act when he advises Happy against making choices similar to his father`s. He states, “Biff: “Pityingly: I told you, ya shouldn`t even take that job. You saw what it did to Dad.”     Equally, when reflecting on Willy`s dialogue and actions in the play, Biff`s declaration that his dad “never knew who he was” is confirmed by the fact that Willy commits suicide just after completing paying for their house an act that left Linda in dismay. Willy makes contradicting statements, interprets reality according to his mental need. Ironically, he accuses Linda of contradicting him; he asks angrily,” always being contradicted” yet he is the one who contradicts (Miller, 2017).

Willy`s dilemma relates to that of his sons, Happy. They both do not understand who they are, both of them work so hard yet in different ways do not achieve their dreams, Happy does not make sales like his father did, on the other had Willy works hard but does not receive his wages. He does not feel that his family has the kind of life he expected.

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The larger theme in the play is contradiction, denial, and order vs. disorder. These relate to the relationship between Willy and his son Biff. Biff leaves home because he did not like his father cheating on his mother. Yet,  he still works to impress his dad, equally, Willy, referred to his son as Lazy, at some point he commented how proud the protagonist is of his son, Biff, Willy imagines that he can have a responsible child. These bring out the theme of contradiction. Willy is also in denial that his son has a weakness, despite the fact that Biff excelled in school does not mean that he cannot fail on other issues (Meeph, 2005). The idea of self-knowledge is essential to the plays conclusion since it brings out the point that not every American is caught up in the “American Dream.”


Meeph. (2005, February 10). The death of a sales man. Retrieved from https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2257489/1/Act-III-Of-Death-of-a-Salesman

Miller, A. (2017). The death of a Salesman. Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/salesman/section1.rhtml

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