In the Death of a Salesman, the main character Willy Loman struggles to be superior to society but tragically fails because of his arrogance and stubbornness. Willy is an exhausted father of two sons, Happy and Biff, and husband to Linda. He suffers from a mental illness that impairs his thinking, which is reflected throughout the entire novel. He believes that he and his sons will be more successful than his neighbor Charley and his son, Bernard, because of his theory that the more "well-liked" person will make the most money. "It's not what you say, it's how you say it," was one of Willy's mottos. His whole life revolves around attaining the "American Dream" which he believes would make him successful and affluent. .
Willy's pride was shattered after the loss of his job. After that loss, Willy talked to himself more than ever before. He recalled his past when his brother Ben was still around, regretting to go to Alaska with him. He remembered his brother's good fortune and envied his brother's success, hoping that his sons would follow in Ben's footsteps. .
Willy's sons also contributed to Willy's insanity. Biff, the oldest son, was a popular high school football star. Willy had much faith in him. Biff would've lived up to Willy's expectations, but Biff's motivation in life was diminished after he witnessed Willy's affair with another woman. Consequently, Biff failed math and was rejected every-time he tried to get a job. Because of his failure, Willy was angered believing that his son was a "lazy bum." Furthermore, what worsened it more was the fact that Bernard became an exceptionally successful lawyer, which contradicted Willy's earlier statements about being "well-liked." Also, Bernard's father Charley was well accomplished.
With nothing more to look forward to in life, Willy was finally successful in all his suicide attempts. It freed him of all his stress that he believed was everyone's fault but his own.