Essay, Pages 3 (735 words)
However in this scene, the climax of the play also takes place. Willy almost seems to be tempted into his suicide whilst talking to Ben. The impetus behind his decision seems to be Biff, in more ways than one. At this point, he still believes that Biff spites him, and he wants to show him how popular he was, with all the people coming to his funeral. However, he is desperately afraid of his own son seeing him as a coward, as I mentioned before.
Perhaps the most important reason behind his decision is the fact that, in his heart, he still wishes that he could see Biff succeed, carrying on the family trade, as he sees it.
He wants to kill himself so that Biff can access the life insurance money, $20,000 in all. We see this when he says ‘, that boy – that boy is going to be magnificent! ‘ Ben then replies with ‘Yes, outstanding, with twenty thousand behind him. ‘ To me, Ben is merely the part of Willy that wanted to follow his dream of adventure and discovery in Alaska, but didn’t.
It is the part of him with a sense of adventure, and which still holds his true dream of success as a man, not just as a salesman. Without his job, this part of Willy, and thus his true dream of respect and real success, takes over.
To me, this is what drives him to take his own life. In this scene, I believe that Arthur Miller builds up to the astonishing climax using a number of different methods.
The first, and most obvious of these, is the fact that there are no long monologues or speeches throughout this scene, more so as it progresses. This short, frantic action creates a growing sense of urgency, building to the end of Willy’s life and the climax of the play. Also, this scene contains the greatest number of stage directions describing emotional states anywhere in the play.
This helps to create the enormous feeling of emotional turbulence that is happening. We can see, for example, ‘with promise’ for Willy and crucially ‘almost uttering her fear’ for Linda. The fact that Willy dies at the point when he is most proud of himself and of Biff, least delusional about his “social standing”, and crucially the happiest that he has been for 17 years, is a fitting end to his life, in my opinion. However, in my opinion, possibly the most moving and revealing scene in the play is “REQUIEM.
” This scene, set after Willy’s funeral, highlights the true feelings of each of the characters from the play. It also highlights some revealing comparisons between them, as well as between dreams and reality. The first comparison, in this case a hypocrisy, which we see is from Happy. He was seen earlier in the play to be far more concerned with himself and his ‘lousy rotten whores’, as Linda calls them, than with the wellbeing of his father. However, he is now “deeply angered” by Willy’s suicide, saying ‘he had no right to do that. There was no necessity for it. We would have helped him’.
In my opinion, Happy seems to think that as long as he shows some sort of feeling now, all will be forgiven, even though he denied that Willy was his father earlier. This, to me, shows the continuing selfishness in Happy. The second comparison that can be seen is between Willy’s funeral and the funeral of the old salesman whose popularity influenced Willy to take up his career in the first place, instead of going to Alaska with Ben. Earlier in the play, Willy talked with admiration, but also a touch of envy, of Dave Singleman, 84, who died the ‘death of a salesman,’ as Willy puts it, with ‘hundreds of salesman and buyers at his funeral.
‘ At Willy’s funeral, however, nobody comes but his family and Charley. Also, Willy talks about Dave being able to ‘go into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people. ‘ In my opinion, this is what Willy really wants. Not to become a successful salesman, but to be respected and loved man. However, before his death, he talks about being called a ‘walrus’ by another salesman, and people not taking to him anymore.