Who does willy's father symbolize?

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fumioueda | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The past action is dramatized fragments of memory. These scenes of past action come out of Willy’s head; they are consequently subjective and distorted visions of the past rather than accurate recreations. Psychologically, they suggest that the past is always in the present, shaping our thoughts, actions, fears, and dreams. Therefore, his father is not a realistic characterization of a well-rounded persona, but is more of Willy's symbolic aspirations. Just as Dave Singleman symbolizes the single (or singular) man; he is Willy’s personal symbol of success. Uncle Ben represents another version of the American Dream; he is the self-reliant pioneer/exploiter who opens new territories and carves wealth out of the land. Willy’s father is a much less well-developed version of this same symbol. It is this romanticized and sentimentalized dream as to the characterization of his father to which Biff is drawn at the end of the play and to which Willy commits suicide not being able to reach this dream.

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