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Themes And Symbols Love And Family Relationship English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 803 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Linda tries not to take the side of neither Biff nor Willy during the confrontation. This shows that she cares for the family and hops for the best “shake his hand “. The relationship between Biff and Willy is getting worst as Biff confronts Willy with the problem he faces and the issues in which Willy has been trying to hide or deny which is the contribution to Biff not becoming someone better in life. The depth of Biff’s emotion is shown when he starts crying. These tears are a symbol of Biff’s frustration but they do not repair the broken bond in the family as one would expect them to. Instead it pushes Willy to commit suicide because he believes Biff will see him as a hero when he gets the insurance money

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Abandonment and Betrayal

Willy’s father abandoned him and Ben while they were young. Ben then abandons Willy by leaving to find his fortune in the African jungle. This makes Willy intimately associated with abandonment which makes him fearful of it, hence his angry and almost crazed reaction at Biff’s leaving. This led to Willy wanting his family to conform to the American dream where people are successful in their careers and also in their family lives.

The American dream basically embodies hard work and honesty as the keys to success. However Willy firmly believes in his own twisted version of the American Dream where, if one is likeable, personable and attractive physically and otherwise, one will simply be successful. This is especially shown when Biff was younger and Willy hardly payed attention to his academics, and called Bernard a nerd. Ironically, although Biff was more popular when they were kids, it is now the nerd that is wildly successful. Being in an office does not make Biff happy. Although he has had to put up with Willy’s warped thinking about what the American dream should be, he has finally found his way. The American Dream also speaks to the pursuit of happiness. It is clear that Biff has, through his own muddled way, realized the true essence the American Dream and is seeking it. Biff’s dream is the right one. Working in the outdoors makes him happy. He would never be happy working in an office or being a salesman or in fact living Willy’s American Dream.

Truth, Deception and Lies

Throughout the entire play, the family has been deceived by Willy and he deceived by them. The entire family is deceiving themselves, hence the lies they keep telling each other and themselves. The family is living a compilation of lies and the web seems to be too tangled for them to stop. Biff is the only one who chooses to not live out Willy’s idiosyncrasies anymore.

Dreams and Aspirations

Willy wants biff to be a success and a well like person “the American dream “hence him being disappointed when Biff abandons his ambitions to do so. In chapter 14 it shows where Will thinks that Biff will be as successful and well liked as Bernard with his death and his family getting the insurance money. Willy was willing to give up his own life to ensure that his son gets the American and fulfill sit.

Appearance versus reality

This theme is evident when Willy refuses to realize that he help to contribute to Biff becoming a failure and amounting to nothing in life by not being a good father. Willy being delusional sees Ben who in fluencies him to commit suicide. He believed that Ben was actually there talking to him.


Seeds: The seeds represent Willy’s last ditch attempt to leave something tangible. He has worked all his life and now seems to have nothing to leave behind for his family. The seeds could also represent Willy’s deteriorating mental state. He is hanging on to his sanity by his finger tips and slipping. Willy is like a seed that has been planted but has no roots. There is no strength of character and he fails to realize this even up to the point of his death. When Willy withers, (dies) there will be nothing left.

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Diamonds: Diamonds refer to great wealth or prosperity. This symbol is especially significant in the last two scenes because it represents the reason that Willy uses to kill himself. That is monetary gain for Biff and his family. The imaginary Ben in the last two scenes keeps repeating that the jungle is dark but full of diamonds. This constant refrain pushes Willy even closer to his demise.

The Jungle: The wealth in that the diamonds that made Ben rich was found in the jungle and the wealth that Willy will leave behind with his death.

The Rubber Hose: This signifies the beginning of Willy’s suicidal thoughts and how he tried to kill himself. Willy is however in denial when it is being presented to him.


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