February 1, 2012

Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller, 1949
Attainable goals
may seem pathetic, but you'll
likely have success

Long before reading this, I saw the scene from Seinfeld where George is compared to Biff Loman, who he describes as "the biggest loser in the history of American literature." This description isn't far off. But I honestly feel that the bigger loser would be his father, Willy. I realize he's the main character, but he's more of an antagonist than anything. Willy's focus is his job, but his real failure in life was as a parent.

He consistently built his sons up to believe that it was more important for them to be popular than for them to work hard. He encouraged stealing and cheating because he thought they could get away with anything if people liked them. He failed to teach them respect. Biff discovers his father's adultery suddenly one night, and this, I would say, has the most profound effect on their relationship. Willy never had his priorities straight. (PG-13)

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