Essay: Illusions and Fantasies in Death of a Salesman
Willy in the beginning of the play is successful and a good father who provides his family with basic needs and the security needed for existence. However, after his sales starts dwindling he embraces strongly the theory that for one in life to be successful in the society they most be well liked and attractive. This particularly commences the illusion and fantasy world which Willy surrounds himself in neglecting his family and starting to have extra martial affairs. However, this is the fact which unable Willy to achieve his quest for greatness and success and eventually leads to him being laid off work and eventually his downfall.
The protagonist in the play after doing several sales rounds and having not made any sales become filled with negative emotions which lead to him becoming delusional. This then starts the long disturbing journey of Willy living of his great past and avoiding the present. Willy in his quest of greatness mostly centralizes on one of his sibling Biff who is a star football player. He neglects his other son and his wife as he is filled with the need and urges of greatness. Earlier in the play Willy believes that his whole family is a great one and visualizes his sons as successful business people. Although this may appear like an optimistic thought it is not based on any solid evidence but just illusion and fantasy. The protagonist has nothing to supplement his vision with and this fact all concludes that he is only an illusionist. The reality is that the whole family do not have what it takes to succeed but Willy is not about to accept this fact. Using flashback, Miller represents the character Willy as a person who prefers to dwell in the past illusions rather than live in the present and face the day’s challenges (Kennedy and Dana 1241). This is a good prove that everybody in the story believes in illusions as it is evidenced in that “Both Willy and Reagan dreamed the American dream and believed that in America a man could, and should, fulfill himself” (Shockley 2).