Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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What role does the fear of abandoment play in Willy's life in "Death of a Salesman"?

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As Death of a Salesman unfolds, we see the unravelling of Willy Loman's life and mind. As his current life falls apart around him, Willy retreats more and more into the past, always revising history as he goes. He has created a family history that fulfills his American Dream but which is far from the truth. There is a deep need in Willy to be a hero to his sons and a stalwart husband to his wife, and it could be argued that this need has its roots in the traumas of Willy's early life. Increasingly, during the course of the play, we see the shadow remembrance of Ben, Willy's older brother who went into the jungles of Africa and came out a rich man. Ben has become an icon in Willy's pantheon of heroes, but is Ben real? The abandonment of his younger brother to a much lesser life has certainly scarred Willy in ways from which he can never recover. He is unable to blame Ben for abandoning him, seeing him instead as a hero of mythic proportions. To shore up his own self-esteem, he borrows...

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