"Death of a Salesman" questions.Could someone please help me answer a few questions about "Death of a Salesmen". Thanks in advance ! 1) What are the three important values Willy has taught his...

"Death of a Salesman" questions.

Could someone please help me answer a few questions about "Death of a Salesmen". Thanks in advance !

1) What are the three important values Willy has taught his sons to believe?

2) What are some mistakes Willy has made as a parent?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the previous thoughts were very strong.  I would say that one of the fundamental errors Wily has made in both being parent and in the transmission of values is lacking transparency and honesty in his relationships.  There is much to indicate that this is something of which Wily is incapable.   His ability to quickly embraces appearances as opposed to fully accepting and living with reality reflects this, something that is transmitted to his children.  In his own mind, Wily is incapable of fully accepting the reality in which he is immersed.  This is something that ends up being conveyed to his children.  This lack of transparency and a sense of denial is something that inhibits his relationship with both his family and his own sense of self.  It is this drive that helps to block out significant relationships because of its self driven pursuit to easy ends, material ends, and the idea that Wily can "pull it off" as opposed to honestly and soberly accpeting what is there in reality.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Willy made a lot of mistakes as a parent, but giving the boys the wrong set of values tops everything. He has an attitude that appearance, and being thought "one of the boys" is all you need in life. He has a bad attitude about women ("they believe everything you tell them"). He laughs about Biff stealing from the high school football team. He lets the boys think that he is perfect, but is caught by Biff with another woman. Biff also realizes that his mother has been doing without, while Willy spends money on the other woman. Biff is no prize, either, and uses his disillusionment with his father as an excuse for all his later failures.

qazi | Student

I believe that Willy's misinterpretation of the American Dream and the idea of being well-liked being more important than hardwork are the reasons behind all his failures! Willy Loman is a man full of contradictions and one who lives in his own make-belief world. Willy's failure to come to terms with his own father cripples him in his ability to be a father in his turn. Deprived of affection as a child, he smothers his own sons with love, and oppresses them with the nakedness of his hopes for their success. Here it is important to comprehend the paradoxical nature of the 'conflict' between Willy and his children. For what Happy, and especially Biff, have to fight is not indifference or hostility, but surfeit of love. However, the terrible irony of the play is that Willy's struggles, sacrifices and final suicide are not for his own material advancement, but for his sons! It is the overwhelming need to have his sons succeed that is the underlying drive of his life and the cause of his tragic agony.

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Death of a Salesman

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