Of the many characters presented in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman changed the most drastically. Throughout the play his character moved from denial to acceptance. In the early stages of his life he refused to face reality and, therefore, lived in a fantasy world. However, as his life progressed, Willy finally began to accept the true characters of both Biff and himself. Miller illustrated this metamorphosis of character through Willy's false hopes for his sons, the loss of his job, and a significant argument between father and son that resulted in a rude awakening for Willy.
The false hopes Willy possessed for his two sons exemplified his refusal to accept and face reality. Because of his profession, Willy expected his sons to "ffollow in his footsteps and create a respectable living for themselves, full of wealth, status, and family. Although his eldest son, Biff, had a genuine love for the West, Willy continued to direct his future into the business world, and, in a sense, was living his dreams through him. In addition, his ignorance lead him to continuously presume that Biff's popularity and attractiveness would contribute to his success in life. Willy proudly announced this misconception when he stated that "the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead?(Pg. 33). This mistaken idea had kept Willy's expectations high for his entire life, revealing his inability to live in reality.
The loss of Willy's job gradually advanced his disposition towards the acceptance of reality. After he lost his job, Willy finally understood that the key to success did not include being "well-liked.? Due to this recognition, Willy could no longer lie to himself or his family about his ability as a salesman, and, consequently, he began feeling underappreciated and disappointed in himself. As a result of the conspicuous loss of his job and his gradual attitude change, Willy's life began to disintegrate.