Death of Salesman Essay
Many people tend to make up fantasies to overcome their failure. In the play A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Blanche makes up lies about what has happened to her to overcome the thought of her failure. In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman makes up things hes done to look more successful. Both of these characters live in fantasies that lead to their downfall.
In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy gradually demolishes himself with lies, false hope, and beliefs. Willy has such high hopes and dreams; his main goal is to live up to the American Dream. He is so consumed by the idea of it; he never took a moment to realize that he may not be able to capture that fantasy, and it causes him to suffer from crippling self-delusion. When Willy comes home from traveling as a salesman his wife Linda is always waiting for him with open arms. Willy hates to disappoint her and always tells her he has made a lot more money than actually has. Willy begins to believe he is successful, until he works out the numbers in his head, and realizes he will have to ask Charlie, his neighbor for money again.
In the beginning of the play, Willy was delusional he couldn't even extinguish reality from his fantasy world. "Biff is a lazy bum. Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such-personal attractiveness, gets lost, And such a hard worker. There's one thing about Biff--he's not lazy." From Willy's actions it was obvious that depending on the intensity of the moment he would change his mind set from better to worse, so he could cope better with the situation. Willy never actually reached the American Dream, and I think he might have known that he didnt, and never will with his actions of attempting suicide. If he were successful as he thought, he would not want to die.
In A Street Car Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, the main character Blanche has a hard time coming to grips with real life because of her past. Williams demonstrates the theme of reality versus fantasy through Stanley, Blanches brother-in-laws success in finding the truth in Blanches fictional world, and the use of light symbolizing the truth that Blanche is afraid of, the light represents the problems presented with attempting to defeat reality with fantasy. While someone may choose to abandon reality, it still exists, and one will have to face reality eventually. The light is an obvious symbol of reality for several reasons. It is very clear and easy to distinguish what is truth in the light, while fantasy occurs in the dark and is rather vague. Blanches fantasies happen in the dimly lit and dark areas of the apartment. Blanche is afraid of being seen in direct light, especially by Mitch. Williams uses the light to represent truth, or what Blanche is most afraid of. Blanche reveals her fear of reality in her discussions with Mitch. She says I dont want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I dont tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. Here Blanche reveals why she pretends to be things she is not. Instead of living the life she has been handed, Blanche chooses to ignore that life, and create an alternative she would rather live in. Even though she has chosen to live a fantasy, she still fears the life she has left behind. This is why she is afraid to be viewed by Mitch in the light. She is afraid that Mitch will see the true Blanche and will think differently of her.
Williams is showing how one may create allusions in an attempt to relieve someone from a stressful situation. Williams is demonstrating this through the lies that Blanche is living. He is showing the weakness of a person placed in an uncomfortable situation. For Blanche, this is the situation she found herself in while in Laurel, after the suicide of her husband. She attempted to block out the feelings she had for him by seeking many different physical relationships. This need for physical relationships brought her to a more troubled state of reality. Blanche continues to live a lie, by attempting to leave her troubles and start over by moving to her sister Stellas. Ultimately Blanche doesnt leave her troubles, in a sense she starts over but with more lies, and more trouble then what she left, because everyone knows she is lying, and this leads to her downfall and she ends up with nothing, just as the life she left.
As described above, both characters live in fantasies to overcome failure, and their true self. They feel that if people knew who they really were they wouldnt be liked. Blanche lives in lies because thats all she has to cope with how her life turned out. She doesnt want to see the reality of the situation she is in, no job, no money etc. Willy lives in a fantasy world because he has always had the dream of being successful and living the American Dream. He doesnt want to see that its possible he wont have that before he dies. He wants people to speak highly of him and his accomplishments but the fact is he doesnt have many. Living in a fantasy world has lead to failure in both of these characters. Willy has died trying to achieve his ultimate goal, and Blanche has nothing left to live for.