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Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller
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In Death of a Salesman, what is the only indicator of success to Willy, other than being well liked or personally attractive?

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Willy defines success in terms of money; a man who makes a lot of money is a man who has succeeded. Willy's father and his brother Ben contributed a great deal to Willy's philosophy. Willy's father was an innovator and entrepreneur; Ben was a risk-taker. Both acquired the kind of financial success that Willy only dreamed of. Although Willy worked hard throughout his lifetime, he never acquired the kind of fortune, for example, that Ben had acquired by "walking in the jungle" and coming out wealthy. Until the end of his life, even as he watched his career as a salesman fade away, Willy still chased the dream--through Biff. In pushing Biff to engage Bill Oliver in a shaky financial scheme, Willy tried to achieve through his son what he had not been able to achieve through his own efforts: a big pay-off. Ironically, Willy's biggest financial success is achieved only through his suicide. The proceeds from his insurance policy ($20,000) become his ultimate financial success. 

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