Masculinity In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

788 Words4 Pages
The dictionary definition of masculine is “having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men, especially strength and aggressiveness,” with synonyms such as “macho,” “strapping,” and “powerful.” 1 In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the definition of masculine is different for each of the male characters. From success in the work field to reputation to likability to sexuality, each man has their own way of expressing what they believed validated their masculinity. The men saw themselves in a different way because of the different life experiences they each went through. Willy, father of Biff and Happy, is a man who believed success and masculinity go hand and hand. He tries to instill a notion that hard work and talent are not important in his two sons and that the only thing that would help in life is being well liked. Because he values image and reputation, Willy preferred his older son, Biff, who is both handsome and popular, Willy’s ideal man, and ignored the second son, Happy, who is never really given a chance. Living under the same household, the two brothers, Biff and Happy, share some similarities. Both conditioned to believe that success was the only way to prove one’s manhood and reputation was the only way to reach success, the two brothers try to be the man their…show more content…
But Biff’s discovery of Willy’s affair wakes him up from this daze and forces him to face the truth: he cannot and does not want to live up to his father’s expectations of him. Biff tells Happy “And then he gave me one look and—I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years.” Biff realizes that he does not want Willy’s definition of masculinity of seeking money and success; he wants to live an easy life. Biff wants to be seen as his own person and live his own

More about Masculinity In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

Open Document