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At the time of the play, Willy Loman is an aging salesman who wants more than anything to be respected, loved, and remembered for being successful. He has not done poorly in his profession; however, he has never been a top salesman. Rather than accepting his own personal talents and limitations, Willy blames his lack of success on factors other than himself. Early in the play, he complains that he has to travel too far to work and that this will hurt his sales. Because Willy does not accept himself, he has troubled relationships with others around him. Willy is critical of his sons Happy and Biff, and the boys resent him because Willy has never really accepted their dreams, preferring instead to try to live vicariously through his sons. Willy's wife Linda tries to be sympathetic to Willy's situation, yet he does not see or appreciate her efforts and is often sharp and terse with her. Willy is blinded by what he sees as the American Dream, and as a result, he cannot move past his illusion of what his life should be.
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