Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Describe the relationship between Willy and his sons in Death of a Salesman.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Willy Loman has a difficult, tense relationship with both of his sons throughout the play. Happy and Biff have not grown into the men Willy wished they would become. Biff is unsettled at the age of thirty-four and has not achieved material success. Happy is also in his thirties and is relatively unsuccessful in the business world. Willy feels that his sons, especially Biff, have all the tools they need to be successful. However, Willy does not realize that he has not instilled a sense of responsibility, work ethic, or morals into Happy and Biff. He feels that Biff has refused to go to college and apply himself out of spite. Willy does not understand that his affair traumatized Biff and was the moment that his oldest son lost all respect for him. Willy blames Biff, instead of himself, for his shortcomings and places unattainable expectations on his sons. Essentially, Willy feels disappointed in his sons and refuses to recognize his own mistakes as a father.

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Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Willy has a tense and...

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