Why didn't Willy choose to emulate Charley or Ben or even his father in Death of a Salesman?Is Biff's pronouncement about his father at the funeral that he had the wrong dreams correct?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Biff's statement that Willy had the wrong dreams is true. Willy's idea that he could become rich quick by being well-liked and by being a salesman comes straight from a story that he hears about a successful and well-liked salesman named Dave Singleman. The story he relates about Singleman is that, out of a hotel room, this man would sell just about anything, and basically that he has a sort of Midas touch to succeed in sales. When Singleman dies, his success is so well-known that he had a funeral to which a lot of other salesman attend. This puts Singleman, in Willy's view, in a very high level of admiration.

Willy's father was successful but he abandons Willy and Bernard when Willy is still a small child. Bernard is also successful and got rich but he did invest a lot of time and effort in going into his business. Bernard's success was a combination of personal effort and good luck. Charly and Bernard would never come to the level of success that Willy aims to reach. The rest of the people, to Willy, are just simply not good enough.

If Willy had a more realistic approach at life he would have realized that nothing should be taken at face value. He does not know exactly what sort of sacrifices Dave Singleman had to ensure to succeed. He does not know anything else about the man, but the stories that are said about him. Therefore, to follow the dream of another man's success is an action that is meant to fail from the get-go. This is what Biff concludes once he sees how his father's quest for the American Dream was futile, to say the least.

sanskritibookbound | Student

as for the reason why willy didn't take up charley's offer..... well i would like to say that willy had already decided on his suicide....

he thought that if he died then the life insurance money would be givn to his family and could solve some of their problems.....

his suicide was not sudden ..... it was premeditated and had been pondered upon......

so he knew that he could not take charley's job offer since he wont live that long to work for him.....

sanskritibookbound | Student

p.s- if you can then get the book of surjeet publication it offers great help and explaination.....

sanskritibookbound | Student

willy lowman was a man of dreams and fantacy... in this play a concept of american dreams has been portrayed. as we all know that america is a nation which has emmerged lately and is a total industrialised country... people who wanted to settle in life migrated to america and started their bussiness. willy lowman has this same impression that in a country as big as america no one can remain unsccessful for forever and he hopes that one day he'll also strike gold like his older brother, ben. as we see that biff says in the end that willy had his dreams all wrong, we know that willy was a man of outdoors... the ceiling he had put, the plants he had planted and the repairs he had done in his house show that willy would have been more successful had he worked with his hands...

                           ben asks willy to leave brooklyn and come with him to alaska... linda puts down her feet at this suggesion and insists that willy is building something big with the company he was working for... this 'BIG' thing is the reputation he thinks he is building with the company ... he also has a high regard for a sales man ('he died the death of a salesman').....

                             all these factors and many more(for which you'll have to reffer the book) combine to form the reason why willy lowman refused to leave his job as a salesman.......... :)

Unlock This Answer Now

Read the study guide:
Death of a Salesman

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question