Death of a SalesmanFactually Speaking
The real crisis in this tragedy lies in the constant fighting of reality. The number of lies that build up on the Loman familys shoulders, shoots pain into the heart of the reader. You keep thinking, Quit dodging the truth WillyDont get your hopes up, itll never workWhy are you guys avoiding all Willys signs that he wants to commit suicideWhy am I getting my hopes up for a plan that I know will never work for them? One delusional dream after the other, where does it stop? You keep wondering why Biff stands as the only Loman ready to face the truth.
The first sign of Willy Lomans confusion with facts appears in his constant contradictions and hypocritical behavior. In the first few pages of the play, Willy discusses his feelings toward Chevrolet’s. Right when you think Willy believes Chevy’s rise high above other cars in quality, he decides Chevy’s stink. His other comment about the Chevy involves opening the windshield. During the time period of this play, car windshields no longer opened. Finally, after much discussion, Willy realizes this dream/nightmare of a car lies in his past. In fact, he only owned a Chevy in the twenties, at the time being he drove a Studebaker.
Willy goes back and forth with his feelings toward Biff. At one point he comes out and says that Biff isnt lazy. Before long, however, Biff and Willy dual about Biffs unwillingness to get a good paying job. In arguments like these, Willy tends to call his son a bum.
As the world modernizes and improves its technology, Willy refuses to change with the times. Perhaps this effects his inability to obtain a steady career. Willys boss, Howard goes to show off his new tape recorder. As he plays the voices of his son and wife, the technology of the gadget drives Willy to a desperate insanity. He begs Howard to shut it off.
Happy, Biff, and Willy come up with the idea of The Loman Brothers, a grandiose dream to the reader, but a promising reality to Happy and his Dad. Willy decides, That is a one-million-dollar idea. (p 1263)The only problem lies with a man named Oliver. Biff knew him years before and now Olivers expected to remember him and give him start and an endorsement with he and Happys Loman Brothers project. Inevitably, Oliver hardly remembers Biff and the plan fails.
On the same day, Willy loses his job. He goes to meet his boys for a dinner to celebrate. He previously decided he wanted to hear some good news to tell Linda, regardless of the facts. Biff tries desperately to come clean with his father and tell him the truth about the rejection he took from Oliver. Unfortunately, Willy refuses to hear it and Happy learned the same method of dodging reality from his Dad.
In the heated fight between Biff and Willy toward the climax of the play, Biff hauls out the rubber tubing he found in the cellar that he suspected his Dad wanted to use for his own hanging. Willy tries to weasel away from this real situation as well.
Biff-You know goddam well what it is.
Willy-I never saw that before. (p 1297)
Willy spends more time then not contradicting his words. The advice he gives his sons, he hardly lives by. The example he strives to set for his boys appalls a hard-working laborer. Yet after all these examples of his hypocritical actions and words, Willy asks, Why am I always being contradicted?
Linda falls right into the rut of lying as well. She backs up and encourages Willys far-fetched dreams and delusions. In fact, she trusts him a little too much. Her fear of not being a proper wife keeps her from thinking logically.
Biff talked to his mother about his unfortunate discovery of the rubber hose earlier and she seemed genuinely concerned. Yet when he confronts Willy about the matter, Linda wants to dismiss the topic as if they should all deny the problem exists. Linda does everything in her power to protect Willys beliefs, no matter how mentally or physically dangerous they are.
Happy took the example set by his father to heart. He totally backs up his fathers foolish dreams and sees no harm in stretching the truth. He literally begs Biff to cover up his failure with Oliver. In fact, before he knows how the meeting between the two gentlemen went, he goes ahead and orders lobster. Not just plain lobster either, Happy requests that they be de-clawed.
Happy finds no real remorse or guilt when it comes to using women or even breaking up engagements. Hell lie right from the beginning in order to get the company of a beautiful female. On the night he and Biff are to meet their dad for dinner, Happy picks up Miss Forsythe. He magically becomes a seller of champagne and Biff transforms into a quarterback for the New York Giants. After all this constant game playing, Happy too commonly says to his father how he will soon be married.
Biff, however, wishes for honesty. His whole family spends their entire time lying to each other and themselves, but Biff wants a change. He wants this change because he witnessed his fathers biggest lie in his sons eyes, an affair with a woman in Boston. With a situation as real as that, Biff could no longer dodge reality. Willy could struggle as much as he wanted to cover up his affair but Biff saw it and failed to escape his vision. From that moment on, Biff realized the lying, the hypocrisy, and the hiding that went on in his family.
With every lie and dream that Willy Loman created, Happy followed, Linda encouraged, and Biff argued. Each delusion pushed Willy a step closer to his suicide. The pain passed to the reader through this play generates from knowing where the problems lie and wishing you could knock some sense into the Loman family.