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Hurtful Love and Foolish Hope in Death of a Salesman

Hurtful Love and Foolish Hope in Death of a Salesman

A father is an important role model in a young man’s life; perhaps the most important. A father must guide his children, support them, teach them, and most importantly, love them. In the play Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, an aging salesman of 63, Willy Loman worked all his life for his children. Happy and especially Biff, his two sons, where his pride and joy and his reason for living. Willy tried as hard as he possibly could to provide for them, to support them, to mold them into men; but he failed. Willy’s greatest fault, perhaps, was his inability to see his sons for what they really were. Biff and Happy were never destined to be great men, yet Willy always believed in them. Although Willy’s hope is touching, it is also foolish. Willy Loman’s blind faith in his son Biff’s abilities destroyed Biff’s sense of moderation and modesty.

Despite Biff’s obvious incompetence and mediocrity, Willy vehemently refused to accept his son’s failure to “make the grade.” Biff “stole himself out of every good job since high school!” (131), yet Willy cannot accept that his son is a “dime a dozen” and declares that Biff is merely failing to spite him. “I want you to know…where ever you go, that you cut down your life for spite!” (129). By blaming Biff for his problems, Willy clears himself of all guilt. Willy cannot realize that it was his ineptitude as a father that created Biff’s character. If Willy was a little more aware of his son’s situation, his true character, Biff may have realized sooner that he was not “a leader of men.” When asked whose fault it is that he never accomplished anything, Biff answered “…I never got anywher…

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…r looked up to was nothing more than a “fake”, and Biff lost all reason to his life. Everything that Willy taught him was destroyed on that one night. Every rule, every piece of advice, was nulled by that one act of adultery.

Willy Loman tried his best to be a good father. He encouraged his sons, he worked all his life for them, and he tried to help them in any way he could. The only problem was, although his heart was there, Willy just wasn’t a good father. Willy did his best to raise his sons, but tragically, the more he tried, the worse they became. Ultimately, Willy failed as a father, but he did try his best. He loved his children, in some cases, too much. He loved them blindly, and never once questioned their greatness. Although love like that is touching, it also harmful. Willy’s delusions of grandeur for his sons hurt them more than it helped them.

Free Essays: Symbols in Homer’s Odyssey

The Symbolism of Homer’s Odyssey

Throughout Homer’s The Odyssey, many tangible symbols are used to represent abstract ideas. Each symbol that Homer uses has two meanings. The double meanings of these symbols are used to represent Odysseus and Telemachus as they strive to meet each other. While each symbol has a meaning that represents the growth of Telemachus, each one also represents, by another meaning, the growth and development of Odysseus. When they meet for the first time, the symbols, and the character traits that they represent confluence, and the resemblance between Odysseus and Telemachus becomes complete.

One of the main ideas running throughout the Odyssey is the importance of water. It has the power of giving life and quick, safe travel, but it also has the potential to drown you. Water can be considered a paradox in and of itself. While it is good and usually life giving, it also demonstrates how too much of a good thing can bring harm. It brings much harm to Odysseus as he is traveling to Phaeacia, “At Zeus’ command the whole sky is heavy with clouds, the sea is seething, squalls from every corner hurtle together. There is nothing now for me but certain death.” Everything needs water to live, however Odysseus speaks of water as an agent of death. Water that brings death by excess represents Odysseus, for he is the one that has to suffer all these years, and he is the one that nearly drowns. Odysseus also learns how too much of a good thing, such as wealth or gold, can seriously harm a man. He especially experiences this when he sacks Troy, and gets carried away, angering the gods. Henceforth, it is fitting that the excessive side of water represent Odysseus. Life that is brought by water, the water that satisfies souls is the type that represents Telemachus. He is not excessive, and has been in fact humbled by the suitors in their years there. Further, Telemachus has never seen any trouble with the water or the sea, “…sent a following wind through the clear sky to speed them from astern, so that their ship might most speedily complete their journey across the salt sea.” The water never hurts Telemachus and always helps him. Telemachus does not get the chance, as his father did, to Perish from his own excesses. Telemachus also has a pure mind and body which is what water embodies.

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