In the plays" Death of a Salesmen and Fences, the main characters succeed at establishing a relationship with their family but both manage to ruin it by making foolish decisions. In Fences, Troy tries to influence Cory into something which is not natural of him and consequently ruins their family relationship, even though some love is still apparent. In the Death of a Salesmen, Biff looked up to his father, Willy, until the life changing event creates a chain reaction of events that permanently scars their relationship. In both novels the father-son relationship is ruined at the end of the son's high school years. After high school, the father-son relationship becomes more distant. Another relationship is the one that exists is the husband-wife relationship. Both husband-wife relationships are threatened when each husband cheats on the wife at some point in the story. Troy and Willy have a difficult time dealing with family values while they are struggling to make a living from their lower-class jobs. .
Troy and Cory's relationship is threatened during Cory's senior year of high school. It's a big year for Cory's football career and it seems as if things continually improve daily. In actuality, his football career has reached its highest potential. Cory is enthusiastic on attending his ideal school, the University of Virginia. At this college he would play football while getting a higher education. When success for Cory is imminent, Troy completely ruins it. Troy does not want Cory to play football, so therefore urges him to quit the team and get a job. At the same time, Troy sends away all of the recruiters and scouts that come to see Cory, preventing any kind of scholarship offer from a college. Cory is disappointed and leads a life without achieving his dreams. Later on when Cory finds out about what his father had done, Cory is furious. Troy ruins the father-son relationship between the two.