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The constant conflict between illusion and reality is a constant struggle for him throughout the play.
His idea of what helps to make a person successful doesn’t match up with reality.
In a conversation with his son Happy, Willy stresses the fact that Bernard, his cousin is smart and has good grades but won’t succeed in the business world.
Working on straight commission, he cannot bring home enough money to pay his bills.
Willy believes that he can become famous and wealthy just like his older brother Ben.
“That’s just what I mean, Bernard can get the best marks in school, you understand, but when he gets out in the business world, you understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him” (Miller 1014).
Willy's assertion that popularity matters above all else is ironic.To Willy, Dave had the greatest career a man could want, “ because what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people” (Miller 1043)?Once again Willy stands by his belief of reputation being the key to success.Having an American Dream may not be a bad motivation for life, but Willy held on to this dream as if it was everything.Death of a Salesman has many literary devices that help to make it deep and riveting play that has become an American classic.Willy, to some extent is also the tragic hero, as he didn't achieve self-knowledge and self-realization, even though he achieved the professional understanding of himself and comprehended the sales profession fundamentals.The problem is that he didn't realize his failure as the person and how he betrayed his own soul and family trying to achieve illusive heights.Death of a Salesman focuses on four characters, the main character Willy Loman, his wife Linda, and their two sons Happy and Biff Loman.Throughout the play, Arthur Miller tells us of the hard life, emotions and triumphs of sixty year old Willy Loman who is a salesman that makes his income wholly based on commission.The play develops into the dreams and aspirations of Willy Loman and follows his strive for the American Dream as they fail to come true.Arthur Miller uses the characterization of the Loman family, symbols and themes to add to the overall effect of the play.