Father-son Relationship in Arthur Miller’s play 'Death of a Salesman' | Literary Articles
Father-son Relationships and Conflicts in Arthur Miller's Death of a Within a literary family, various characters play different roles in each other's lives. Death of A Salesman, the interaction between Willy Loman and his sons, Happy and Biff. This conflicted relationship is maintained throughout a majority of the play until Biff finally determines to forgive and to end the cycle of conflict with his father. This lesson explores the complicated relationship between Willy Loman and his son Biff in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ''Death of a Salesman'', by Arthur Miller. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, centers on the Loman family, which consists of Willy, a travelling.
As Biff tells his brother Happy early on in the play: I don't know - what I'm supposed to want. When younger, Biff looked up to his father as a role model - at least this is how Willy remembers it - but his faith in him was severely shaken by accidentally finding out that Willy was having an affair with another girl. From that moment onward Biff began to hate his father.
On account of the distorted and disturbed relationship between Willy Loman and Biff Loman, the family structure began to crumble. The Loman family began to reveal dysfunctional behavior.
Father-Son Relationship In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman
Willy had compared Happy with Biff, and found out that Happy lags far behind in terms of Biffs immense potentiality. So Willy began to give more attention to Biff and less attention to Happy. This discriminatory act of Willy Loman infuriated Happy. That is why Happy did not show respect to his father.
This hatred-ridden relationship between Willy and Happy created instability in the structure of Loman family. Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y'understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him.
Father son conflict in Death of a Salesman | muhi uddin - szsizu.info
That's why I thank Almighty God you're both built like Adonises. Miller 25 The second stage of their relationship began when both Biff and Happy grew up and stepped out of their school premises and entered the competitive and practical American World, where each was trying to become successful and carve out a space for himself. Just at the beginning of this stage something happened that changed the father-son relationship completely.
As it has been mentioned earlier also, Happy's relationship with Willy is presented on a secondary level. The actual father -son relationship that is in limelight, in the play, is Willy and Biff's relationship. Therefore this incident is also related to Willy and Biff.
Biff once caught his father, red -handed, cheating on his mother while on a business -trip to Boston. This Boston episode shattered Biff's confidence in his father completely. The image of his hero, his ideal came to pieces when he saw his father in an incestuous relationship.
It seemed as if Biff's life lost its balance and its centre. There was nothing left to hold on to. After this incident Biff lost all interest in his future career as well as studies.
The spirit of his life vanished and he unconsciously became a 'nomad'. The result was that he kept on changing jobs but was unable to find satisfaction. Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it s a measly manner of existence. Miller 16 5 However, the basic reason behind such a nomadic life was only one - that all his ideals, values proved to be fake and false. His father, the epitome of these ideals, was a cheat.
Biff lost all respect for his father and called him a "liar However, he didn't reveal his father's extra - marital affair to his mother. But after this incident Biff started arguing and disrespecting his father. Willy on the other hand felt guilty but never apologised.
Rather he kept on pressurising Biff for trying jobs in the business field. He knew that Biff has become aimless in life because of him. He often realised that he, himself, was to be blamed for Biff's failures and his unsuccessful career.Landmark Forum - Father/Son Relationship
But his false pride never let him accept this. He tried to find faults in Biff's personality. Therefore, this was a stage where there were accusations as well as arguments from both sides. As a result, Biff started leaving home and living somewhere else with the changing jobs.
He kept on changing addresses as well. During this stage the relationship between father and son suffered a communication gap too.
On the other hand, Happy, though living at home, tried to impress his father. Thou gh he too was not very successful, but like his father he also made false impressions on others and became a fake show-off. He, also, lied to his parents about his position in the office.
The final stage of the father-son relationship reached its climax during the last day of Willy Loman's life. This is the actual day which the play picturises. Biff has turned thirty-four and yet he is unsure of what he wants in life. He is yet exploring his possibilities. During all these years Biff had made a journey to find himself; to find the 'real' Biff.
He realised that he is a man of the fields and the business world as well as its coded behaviour is not his cup of tea. Biff also realised that he had been brought up on false ideals and that it wasn't necessary that a person who is well-liked, popular and has an impressive personality will surely succeed in life. He understood that his real talents lie in his interests in creative manual labour. However, the irony was that Biff made a journey to self-realisation while Willy was unsuccessful in doing so.
This led to the actual clash between the father and the son. Willy is not ready to accept his as well as his sons failures. He still harbours false 6 hopes. Thus he loses his mental peace and stability. Half the time he is lost into imaginary conversations and is unable to differentiate between real and imaginary. Biff loses patience at his father's deteriorating mental state and thinks that accepting the truth and facing reality is the only possible solution.
Therefore, he attempts to show his father the actual reality which is free of all pretensions. I'm a dime of dozen, and so are you! I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash-can like all the rest of them!
I'm not bringing home any prizes any more, and you're going to stop waiting for me to bring them home! Miller After saying this, Biff breaks down and emotionally overwhelmed, hugs his father. Willy realises that though Biff had been arguing and blaming him, since the Boston episode, but inwardly he always loved his father. Willy realises Biff's unconditional love and is full of compassion. This is what he had wanted throughout his life - his sons love and respect, and he finally gets it at this stage.
Willy becomes satisfied and wants to give something worthy to his sons as a return gift. He commits suicide as he thinks that the insurance money, Rs. Willy, therefore, is indeed a good father who relentlessly tries to make his sons successful and instils his own sense of morality into his boys.
But the tragedy was that he didn't realize that his own sense of morality was flawed. Therefore, he failed as a father not because of misleading his sons; he failed because he didn't realise his own loss of self -identity and further transferred this into his sons.