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Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller

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In Death of a Salesman, how does Willy's delusion become his refuge?

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Willi's delusion became his refuge by letting Willy go back in time perhaps to resolve all the unfinished businesses he left unresolved, and also to give himself the opportunity to go back to a time and place where he felt he had accomplished something, maybe even been happy.

The way the delusion came to him was in the form of hallucinations, and flashbacks. One of his most recurrent ones was remembering Biff as a football player, and he as his proud father, probably at a much better stage than he was in real life as a salesman, and feeling on top of the world.  Another recurrent delusion is when Biff discovered his mistress. Perhaps Willy always meant to say "sorry" but was too proud to get around it. The way he went back to it means that he is trying to make amends with Biff in their past.

Although going back and forth like that is a result of insanity, it is actually all he has left to be able to survive a life that has gone out of control.

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