The role of conflict in "Death of a Salesman".
The definition of a conflict is a struggle between a man and himself or one man with another. The main conflict in "Death of a Salesman" is Will's confusion and disappointment. Willy is disillusioned with the idea that success is dependent upon being well liked, attractive and successful. He builds his entire life around this idea and passes it on to his sons. These feelings fail Willy in facing reality and merging in modern society. I will discuss and demonstrate Willy's conflict in three instances in the play. First, I will discuss Willy's conflicts with himself. Second, I will discuss will's conflicts with Biff. Third, I will discuss Willy's conflicts with others. .
First, Willy is dependent upon the need to feel well-liked and having personal charm. He also believes that success is dependant upon those two merits, and therefore has a hard time with the changes in society. Willy's conflict with himself can be demonstrated via the following three examples: First, the main conflict Willy has is with himself. Willy builds his entire life around the idea that popularity is the main key to success. For example, the need to feel well-liked is so strong that he often makes up lies about his popularity and success, and even believes in them claiming "I'm the New England man. I'm vital in New England." It is possible that Willy was once a vital salesman, but he is not any longer. As a result, Willy tells Linda that no one remembers him, and that people laugh at him behind his back. This manifests Willy's need to feel well-liked, and the realization that he is losing his charm. Second, another conflict Willy undergoes is the old versus new. For example, at the beginning of the play, Willy criticizes the changes that are brought by the industrialization. "The street is lined with cars. There's not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood." Furthermore, when Willy goes in to ask Howard if he can be transferred to a job in New York, Howard, the young boss that represents the impersonal and ruthless nature, refuses to help him, claming that "Sit's a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight".