There is a common theme shared by Death of a Salesman and Fences, which is fatherhood. Both main characters, Willy and Troy, are difficult to judge whether they are bad fathers. It is clear that both of them have some troubles with their sons, but that is not because of the fathers hate their sons. Willy loves his son Biff just like Troy loves his Cory; both men devote themselves into making their own sons into better men.
Willy Loman has an American dream that he wants to be success. Happy, Willys younger son, assembles his father that he believes in the chance of becoming a successful man. Happy is influenced by Willy that he believes Willy has a good dream which he is going to win it for him after his death. However, Willys relationship with his elder son Biff is unsatisfactory. As an old man, Willy is currently having a nervous breakdown that he frequently daydreams the past and often idealizes it. He is at his best condition when he hears Biff is coming home, but he becomes worst when Biff arrives the house. This contradictory shows Willys uncertain feeling toward Biff: he is afraid that if Biff hates him. Willy daydreams not just because he wants to escape from the unhappy present, he also regrets about the past; he refuses to knowledge that he had destroyed Biffs future by letting him failed math in high school so that Biff couldnt graduate. Willy always loves Biff and wants him to have a better life. In the end, when Biff kneels and tells as he is crying that he loves Willy, Willy is then willing to sacrifice himself for Biff to have the money to pursue his dream. Willy had made Biff to abandon the dream of going into college; he doesnt want to make the same mistake again. His love to Biff reveals to him that Biffs future is worth much more than his life.
Troy from Fences also tries his best to educate his sons Lyon and Cory. Troys elder son Lyon has grown up without much care from Troy because Troy was in jail. Tory refuses when Lyon asks him for money every time but he always hands the money to his wife Rose to give to Lyon. Tory almost never shows his love to his sons, neither to Lyon nor to Cory, but he indeed loves them deeply. Troy tries to get Lyon a regular job because he wants Lyon to have a better life. He does not allow Cory to play in the football team; instead, Troy forces Cory to get start working because he doesnt want Cory to become what he is now. Troy has failed to get in the baseball team, thus he is afraid that Cory is going to suffer the same thing as he does. He shows his love to his sons through series of demands. Cory thinks his father is evil and hates him, so he leaves the house after the fights with Troy. Eventually Cory discovers that Troy has always loved him and has never forgotten him when he returns to the household on the day of Troys funeral.
Both Willy and Troy try to make their sons to be better; Willy has not made his dream to come true but he wants his sons to pursue their dreams; Troy is not a successful man but he wants his sons to be better than him through hard working. They have expectations of their sons and try to provide them with better starts, but neither of the two men knows how to show their loves. They both make mistakes which serve as bad examples to their sons. Willy has cheated on Linda with a woman in Boston let Biff to know this accidentally. Biff indeed loves Willy that he never reveals this secret to anyone. Cory also discovers that Troy has cheated on his mother Rose thus he decides not to respect Troy anymore. Both Willy and Troy take their wives for granted, they are imperfect men. Like fathers like sons Happy has dreams just like Willy does and Biff has prides that sometimes he is not able to control of lying about his life; Lyon goes to jail where Troy has spent years inside and Cory, though swears that he will never become a man like Troy, is as strong-minded as Troy that he refuses to go to Troys funeral. Willy and Troy do not die for nothing: Willys death brings $25,000 to sustain his family; Troys death reunites the family. They are not perfect fathers, but as fathers, they give everything they have to their sons, they are the models of the youths.