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The pursuit of material wealth leads to emotional disaster. How far is this true of Willy and one other character? Willy Loman, the title character in Arthur Millers play 'Death of a Salesman'

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Introduction

The pursuit of material wealth leads to emotional disaster. How far is this true of Willy and one other character? Willy Loman, the title character in Arthur Millers play 'Death of a Salesman' is a man on a desperate quest for the 'American dream'. Willy dreams of being a self made, wealthy man, "someday I'll have my own business", and this is what he defines as being successful. It could be said that his pursuit of material wealth, leads to emotional disaster. Willy's chase of prosperity encompasses every single aspect of his life. It affects his relationships with almost everybody in his life, including his wife Linda and two sons; Biff and Happy. His relationship with Linda is anxious and in fact more of a mother and son relationship rather than husband and wife. Linda mothers Willy and seems to be treading on eggshells when around him. Millers stage directions reflect this, at the beginning of Act two, Willy is preparing himself to speak to his boss and Linda is following him around with a jacket, "(LINDA holds the jacket for him)...(getting him into the jacket)...(WILLY walks out of his jacket. LINDA follows him)", earlier on in the play Linda takes off Willy's shoes for him. ...read more.

Middle

Despite most probably knowing deep down that he is not a success, it seems that Willy begins to believe the lies that he is telling. He reels off lies to everybody, from his sons, "boys, they know me up and down New England", to his wife "I'm vital in New England", to his boss, whilst Howard shows off his new, expensive radio, Willy comments that he thinks "I'll get one myself". Despite the fact that Willy does not even have enough money to survive for a week, he is pretending that he will buy a costly piece of technology, his desperation to appear to be doing well is very apparent. Willy is in denial about the reasons that for which he has not achieved the accomplishment that he has always longed for. He has no sense of self responsibility and does not realise his personal failure through the carefully constructed pretence of his life, which has been totally focused on one thing: success (in the material sense). He blames everything on somebody else and never on himself. He says that "if old man Wagner was alive I'd a been in charge of New York right now!" when in reality it is nothing to do with the death of Wagner, but that he is not a great salesman. ...read more.

Conclusion

he is desperately vying for his fathers attention, but Willy takes no notice of him and just continues with his previous conversation with Linda. Perhaps Happy has worked so hard in his life and tried so anxiously to become a successful businessman, because he wants the attention of his father and believes that the only way to do this is to become what Willy has always wanted to be. Happy does become a moderately successful businessman, he is not at the top of his company but he is doing reasonably well, and has a great lifestyle. However despite this, womanising Happy claims that he has what he has always wanted, yet "still, goddammit, I'm lonely" he is lonely in life. Alike to his father, he has pursued material wealth, yet unlike his father, he has come close to achieving it. But, he is not Happy, despite what his name suggests and the pursuit has ended in emotional ruin. He still does not have his father's interest and he feels unhappy in his empty, unstable and shallow life which he has created solely for the purpose of becoming the favoured son. In conclusion, it is clear that in these two cases, pursuit of material wealth does lead to emotional disaster. ?? ?? ?? ?? daphna Starr - Page 1 ...read more.

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