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Motif in Death of a Salesman

Ironically, Willy insists that a man who is ˘likedÓwill never want,÷ he encourages dishonest behavior in his son (Miller 33). As Garaventa (543) argues, Willy worships the altar of character as a means of success but ˘what is most striking about Willy is that the success tradition that is based on character means nothing to him.÷

WillyĂs delusions about himself and his sons only further serves to make him rationalize his sonĂs deviant behavior. Another incidence of theft occurs when Biff and Happy steal supplies from a construction site so Willy can build a stoop. Instead of condemning their actions, Willy maintains they are ˘a couple of fearless characters÷ (Miller 51). Likewise, when he is told Biff is being tracked by the siteĂs watchman, Willy yells ˘Shut up! HeĂs not stealing anything÷ (Miller 51). In essence, Willy remains proud of his sonĂs thievery and his attitudes toward it further encourage their acts.

Willy is a man who has striven from more than he achieved in life. He maintains that his sons are underachievers at vario


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Motif in Death of a Salesman. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:28, October 24, 2014, from
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