Death of a Salesman Essay

Submitted By snowflakes2131
Words: 750
Pages: 3

The character's internal conflict of outward conformity versus inward questioning is manifested in the novel “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller, in which he portrayed Willy as a hollow salesman, constantly seeking wealth and fame in his life. Believing in his corrupted version of American Dream, Willy was unable to withdraw himself from his self deluded idea of societal conformity. Throughout the novel, Willy is in a constant state of mental dissillusionment. Containing a strong desire and obligation to fulfill his American Dream, he often contradict himself and thus trying to justify actions and events through nonsense justification. However, traces of Willy natural and subconscious inclinations also constantly show up in the novel. Therefore, as a result, Willy achieved virtually nothing in his life just like his belief in American Dream, which is surreal and intangible as well.

Throughout the novel, the outward conformity and inward questioning of Willy often create contradicting tension. Willy often make contradicting statements from his previous assertions in order to conform his later statements into the standard of his American Dream. For example, Willy earlier stated that Biff is lazy, but he later denied Biff's laziness. He does so in order to retain his hope in Biff, wishing that someday he will achieve his American Dream through Biff. Another example of self contradiction is also manifested when Willy said that he will attain a more successful business than Charley because he believes himself to be more “well-liked.” But he later claim that Charley is more successful because he is more “well-liked” than himself. And that in reality, Charley acquired his success through diligent works from the root rather than being “well- liked” as Willy said. Flipping his words back and worth, Willy is able to interpret the situation base on his own expectations, thus creating a tension between reality and his mental state. In his mind, he created this surreal world of what he perceive others to think of him, such as he thinks he is less well-liked because he is not a quiet guy, thus leading him toward a life of discomfort and misery.

The disparity between reality and Willy's mental state can be seen again when Willy tried to recreate his memories of a happy and strong family in order to fit the conformity of his American Dream. When in reality, the reader cannot deny the disadvantage position that his family is being situated, in which Biff failed math and Willy himself left unemployed. Willy cannot help but hold on faithfully to the myth of his misinterpretated version of American Dream, in which he believes that fame and success in life is achieved through being “well-liked” by others. Going against his natural inclination of the true career he wanted to pursue, Willy forced Biff to go against his as well, wishing Biff to pursue a career of a salesman that can fulfill his American Dream. Throughout the novel, Willy constantly pursue wealth and fame