Throughout the play Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy Lomans misguided pride leads to his tragic failure and lack of accomplishment. Willys pride and attitude cause him to brag constantly to his family and friends about his career. His pride also causes him to put a lot of pressure on his sons because he will not accept anything less than the best from his boys.
Willys attitude is a dangerous thing to himself and his family because his constant bragging gives his family and himself a false sense of who he is. Willy thinks that if you have money then you will be well-liked. To Willy, being well-liked is everything. In his way of thought people without money are not well-liked and if you are not well-liked then you are nothing. He thinks that he is well-liked but he is not. He even poisons the minds of his boys with the notion that being well-liked is everything. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never wait in line to see a buyer. Willy Loman is here! That all they have to know and I go right through.(Pg. 21). This leads to his failure and lack of accomplishment because Willy thinks his life is going somewhere and he gives the impression to Happy and Biff that their lives will go somewhere too. Willy and Charley have a certain amount of respect between them. Willy does not like Charley all that much but he respects him because he has money.
Well, I got on the road, and I went North to Providence. Met the Mayor. (Pg. 18). Willy thinks that because he met the mayor of Providence he is a big shot and that he is important. Incidents like this make him think that he is a well-established man and salesman. Another example of this is the fact that he named Howard. He thought that it meant something special when it really did not. He took so much pride in the fact that he named Howard that he felt that Howard owed him something.
Will lets his pride get in the way of his success in many ways. Willy finds it easy to borrow money from Charley. If you can manage it - I need a hundred and ten dollars.(Pg. 74). But when charley offers him a job, the pride kicks in and prevents him from further accomplishment. I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars a week. And I wont send you on the road.(Pg. 74).
Willy would rather go to work and make nothing then accept a job from Charley making fifty dollars because his pride forces him not settle for anything less than the best, so he turns it down waiting for a call from Howard that will never come. In his mind he is a very significant part of his business but to Howard and the rest of the business world he is worthless.
When it comes to his sons Willy is a good father, but he sets his children on the wrong path in life. He teaches them to be idealistic, which is alright but he never warns them about the bad things that could happen to them in their lives. Willy always tells his sons that they will be successful, but he never tells them it will be a hard road to walk down.
All his life, Biff is told that he is going to be a success solely because he is well-liked. Biff adopts his fathers idealistic attitude and mind set because all he wants to do is please his father. So much pressure is put on Biff when he is young, and he is ready to accept it until the day he sees his father with the woman. That is the day Biff lost all respect for himself and for his father. That incident changes Biffs views on the world, he goes from being an idealist to a realist in a heartbeat.
In conclusion, Willys inability to accept and differentiate between what is happening in reality and what is happening in his mind is his downfall. The misguided pride he has in himself made Willy think that he was well-liked. But in reality he was nothing. The realization that he was nothing is what made Willy end is life.Funny, yknow? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.(Pg. 76).
In the end Willy figures that if he ends his life he will be greatly missed by thousands of people and that people from around the world will come to his funeral, and also by doing this he will help out his boys. The sad thing about this all is that only four people show up to his funeral.
This proves the point that being well-liked does not mean thing because sometime you are not worth more dead than alive. Living a life full of failure Willy committing suicide was his last effort to be a good father. He had failed as a salesman be he could not let himself fail as a father. This play teaches us to have dreams but not to let them take over our live to the point when we do not know the difference between what is happening in our minds and what is happening right in front of us. If we do not remember that, each and every one us could easily end like Willy Loman.