In Act II of Death of a Salesman we see the idea of "false hopes" and the potential danger that can be linked to this idea.From what you can gather so far how are the false hopes in the play so far...

In Act II of Death of a Salesman we see the idea of "false hopes" and the potential danger that can be linked to this idea.

From what you can gather so far how are the false hopes in the play so far going to negatively affect each member of the Loman family, in your opinion?

Asked on by jaksonme91

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Are you talking about the beginning of Act II and our view of the characters at this stage of the play? Well, it certainly seems that the biggest victim of the false hopes is going to be Willy Loman himself. He has obviously already thought about committing suicide, and the way that he slips into his delusory world clearly shows that he is trying to escape the depressing reality of the present where none of his hopes have come to fruition. At this stage in the play, if we did not know the outcome, the title of the play strongly suggests that he is going to die, though we might think this could happen in a car accident rather than through suicide.

As for Biff and Happy, it is clear that they both share something of their father's capacity for dreaming and his optimism. Happy however seems to be far more attached to this dream than Biff, whose experience of life has left him disillusioned with the American Dream. Crucially, however, this leads him to be in conflict with his father about his life and what he has done with it. Perhaps at this stage we expect both characters will suffer some kind of fall and go through a period where their dreams come to naught.

Linda is a character that is more difficult to respond to in response to this question. I think that her hope of enjoying a retirement with her husband can be seen as another "false hope." She has been working so hard for so long to try and keep Willy encouraged and to not focus on his delusions. The way in which we suspect his death cannot be far off indicates that her hopes are going to come to nothing as well, and she will be left tragically alone.

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