Irony and Internal Conflicts in Death of a Salesman

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    Jan 26, 2013
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Before Willy`s death he had a conversation with a vision of his older brother Ben in which Willy describes the motives behind his suicide. Willy wanted to prove to his son Biff once for all how well known and respected he was. Willy envisioned his final triumph where he could finally prove his worth to his family, and the only way that he could do that would be in death. Ironically, no one attends his funeral except for his family and Charley. Instead of his funeral being his final triumph it his final humiliation. The absence of people at the funeral proves to the Loman`s that Willy`s entire life was an illusion.

Another ironic aspect of Willy`s death is the fact that he took his own life because he thought that he would help financially. He thinks that his twenty thousand dollar insurance policy will be worth more to his family than his own life. He imagines that the money will go to his son Biff who will become successful. Ironically, Willy`s death was in vain because Biff did not get insurance money because suicide was not covered in his policy. Willy kills himself just before he is “free and clear” of debt. Linda asks herself why he did it. This is ironic because Linda is the only person who truly loves Willy, but she doesn`t know who he is at all. She never understood Willy and his problems.

Willy is very inconsistent person because of the conflict inside him. He lives in a dream world and often changes his opinions because his mood changes very often. Willy is very confused because he has always been forced to be a figure of several faces. He had to be the successful father to his sons, to his wife the provider and to himself the great salesman. Willy feels that he has to be within society, yet he looks back to a golden age when life was simpler. He knows he is out of place, but he needs to believe in himself in order to survive. He reject a job offered by Charlie, because he cannot accept the supposed hurt to his pride.

Willy`s suicide is the climax of the play. He thinks that a man is worth more death than alive. A man like him, who is out of place. It is an act of love. He is exhausted, but he still has hope.

He has visions of great future for his sons. But in the end, he does not come to terms with reality. He retains hope. To Willy, death is the only answer. However Willy resolved one conflict. He decided to lay down his life in order to secure one thing-his sense of personal dignity. Willy`s high demands of Biff cause Biff to experience the same difficulties of living in the present and the desire to live in a fantasy world. This conflict is only resolved in Biff`s mind when he releases himself from his father`s dominance and establishes his own identity. At his father`s funeral, Biff has compassion for his father and remembers that there were many nice days. He realizes that Willy had good intentions but wrong dreams. He sees the futility of trying to live up to his father`s unrealistic expectations.





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