Death of a Salesman


Essay
Death of A Salesman
By Arthur Miller

We can't all become what we want to be and further more, others can't become what we want them to be. In the play Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy wants to become a very successful, big, respected salesman. But as he could not reach his longed for dream and as his reality starts to sink, he starts to use his very vivid memory to escape his present problems. The ways in which people deal with there personal conflicts can differ as much as the people themselves. Some insist on ignoring the problem at hand for as long as possible, while others attack the problem to get it out of the way. Willy never really does anything to help the situation, he just escapes into the past, whether intentionally or not, to happier times were problems were scarce. He uses this escape as if it were a narcotic, very addictive and always at hand. This flashback process or what I would rather call it, a drug, occurs only when Willy would become discontent, whether it be because of Biff to economic problems. These flashbacks shows how Willy is incapable of handling situations and being the great man he claims to be. The conversation between Willy and Linda reflects Willy's disappointment in Biff and what he has become, which is, for the most part, a bum. After failing to deal adequately with his feelings, he escapes into a time when things were better for his family. It is not uncommon for one to think of better times at low points in their life in order to cheer themselves up so that they are able to deal with the problems they encounter, but Willy takes it one step further. His refusal to accept reality is so strong that in his mind he is transported back in time to relive one of the happier days of his life. It was a time when no one argued, Willy and Linda were younger the financial situation was less of a burden, and Biff and Happy enthusiastically welcomed their father back home from a long road trip. Willy's need for the "drug" is satiated and he is reassured that everything will turn out okay, and the family will soon be as happy as it was in the good old days. The next flashback occurs during a discussion between Willy and Linda. Willy is depressed about his inability to make enough money to support his family, his looks, his personality and the success of his friend and neighbor, Charley. "My God if business doesn't pick up , I don't know what I'm gonna do!" (Miller 36) is the comment made by Willy after Linda figures the difference between the family's income and their expenses. Before Linda has a chance to offer any words of consolation Willy blurts out "I'm Fat. I'm very--foolish to look at, Linda"( Miller 37). In doing this he has depressed himself so much that he is visited by a woman with whom he is having an affair. The woman's purpose in this point of the play is to cheer him up. She raises his spirits by telling him how funny and loveable he is, saying "You do make me laugh....And I think you're a wonderful man." (Miller 38). And when he is reassured of his attractiveness and competence, the woman disappears, her purpose being fulfilled. Once again the drug has come to the rescue, postponing Willy's having to actually do something about his problem. The next day, when Willy is fired after initially going to ask his boss to be relocated is when the next journey into the past occurs. The point of the play during which this episode takes place is so dramatic that Willy seeks
a big hit of the flashback drug. Such a big hit in fact, that he is transported back to what was probably the happiest day of his life. Biff was going to play in Ebbets field in the All-Scholastic Championship game in front of thousands of people. Willy couldn't be prouder of his two popular sons who at the time had everything going for them and seemed destined to live great, important lives, much more so than the "liked, but not well liked" boy next door, Bernard. Too much of anything, even a good