The theme of Fathers and Sons in Death of a Salesman from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
In many literary works, family relationships are the key to the plot. It is also a common feature of the American plays written during the first half of the 20th century. What is the significance of the father/son relationships in Death of a Salesman? • Willy prioritized Biff over Happy. • Happy loves his father. Nothing can describe better the theme of strained father-son relationship, Miller so passionately explores in his plays like 'Death of a Salesman'.
Thus there are ups and downs in their relationship in different stages of their life. Though the father-son relationship was quite well at the beginning, it becomes soared with the passage of time and the gap is never bridged up. As unfortunate as it is, there are many instances where a father favors one son over another, which leads to social conflicts within the less-favoured son. In most cases it is the oldest son that is being favoured while the younger son is ignored.
Because Willy has dreams of grandeur for Biff, Miller subtly shows how Happy is overlooked. Biff is the favourite son of Willy and when he was growing up, Biff had idolized his father and Willy had thought Biff could do no wrong.
Willy believes and makes Biff believe that any one so confident, so gorgeous is certain to attain success in life. However, at one stage, there relationship collapsed. But Willy bears a good opinion regarding Biff and always believes that Biff has the ability to develop a business of his own.
The reasons for this are numerous and can be demonstrated in different ways. Miller is able to give an example of this behavior through the actions of Willy Loman. When Biff comes home to recollect himself, Willy perceives it as failure.
Father/Son Relationships In Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman
Since Willy desperately wants his oldest son, Biff, to succeed in every way possible, he tries to take matters into his own hands. He could be big in no time" The reason that Biff came home is to find out what he wants in life. Because Willy gets in the way, matters become more complicated.
Willy believes that working on the road by selling is the greatest job a man could have Biff, however, feels the most inspiring job a man could have is working outdoors When their two dreams collide, it becomes frustrating to Willy because he believes that his way is the right way.
Thus, their relationship reaches such a point that Biff can not bear Willy. The frustration of Biff begins and he no more feels comfort with the presence of his father.
They share their dreams, hopes and aspirations. Willy tries to make Biff a prominent man in the country.
Unable to accept the reality of his position, he turns into a shell of a man; totally incapable to play out his responsibilities as a wise energetic father. Hence, both the plays deal with abnormal psychology of the protagonists, leading to disastrous consequences.
I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you! Actually, Willy never paid much attention to Happy as he had few expectations from him. As a result of this, Happy, in reality, fails to achieve much in life and keeps lying to Willy about his supposed success. He fought it out here, and this where I'm gonna win it for him.
This is an indication that Happy has failed to take a leaf out of the tragic life of his father. He denies them everything they like or feel good about. He strongly disagrees with Rose who likes to play numbers. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you. The Depression years, particularly saw fragility of American families as a rising social problem. Miller and Wilson were very well aware of this fact.
The struggle between the father and son over conflicting visions, aspirations and values is the fulcrum and the axis around which the two plays revolve.
Instead of commanding respect, Troy literally demands respect from his son Cory and feels great about it. He is completely unmindful of the hurt, he causes in the process. He also fails to recognize the fact that times have changed and Cory stands a reasonable chance to represent the football team in the Major League.
Death of a Salesman - Father-Son Relationships - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
He loves him so much that he forgets that Willy has grown up and has a personality of his own. Be liked and you will never want. Bernard grows up to become a successful Supreme Court lawyer. You got all kinds of greatness. Biff largely suffers due to the blatantly wrong training his father imparted to him.
This alone was sufficient to distance Biff from his father; top it with the Boston episode and you have a recipe for disaster. With that kind of a mindset, nothing much can be expected from Troy as a father.
It weighed on you and sunk into your flesh…. Trying to live through you. Everywhere I looked, Troy Maxson was looking at me…. All these years, Troy had been a big banyan tree denying any light or space to the plants below. The father-son relationship hinges on love, caring and spirit of accommodation. This is something that Cory never got from his father. His interaction with his father was limited to the time when he visited him for money.
August Wilson portrays Troy as a person who himself had a tumultuous relationship with his father. In both the plays, the sons suffer substantially because of the weak moral character of their fathers.