p.p1 In the play “Death of a Salesman”

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In the play “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller, the main character, Willy, is an unsuccessful salesman who wants his son, Biff, to succeed in business but Biff fails his expectations. In the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, the play begins with the recent death of the King Hamlet. After the king’s death, his brother, Claudius, was crowned as the King of Denmark. When the ghost of the king appears, he makes Hamlet understand that it was Claudius who murdered him and tells him that he wants him to take revenge. Hamlet wanted to be like his father and has become a lot like him by the end of the play. Hamlet knew that his father, King of the Denmark, was a good leader, as Hamlet mentioned: “so excellent king” (149).  Hamlet does everything according to what his father’s ghost said because he is an important figure for him and in the play “Death of a Salesman”, Biff also sees his father as an idol. For both of them, their fathers represent power and moral authority but only for Biff by the end of the play father has lost his power.
The relationship between father and son in two stories is essential to the hero’s success throughout the play. In the beginning of “Hamlet”, prince reacts like a normal person who is grieving after the recent death of someone who he loved. His father, whom he adored and who has recently died, was, in fact, special for him. After the death of the King Hamlet, Hamlet feels that the world is insignificant: “How weary stale flat and unprofitable seems to me all the uses of this world”(133). Hamlet also becomes angry and depressed because of the fact that his mother married his uncle as soon as possible after his father’s death. After looking back at how his father used to love and respect his wife and Hamlet’s mom, Hamlet could not understand how his mom could marry someone like Claudius.  Throughout the play, the audience can see that Hamlet is in conflict with himself. The ghost who tells that he is Hamlet’s father: “I am thy father’s spirit”(14) bothers his grief, and causes him to commit suicide. After the conversation with the ghost, Hamlet realizes that it was actually his uncle, Claudius, who killed his father: “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown” (45). Hamlet’s dead father, the Ghost, wants his son to take revenge and kill Claudius. According to Aristotle, tragedy is “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude” (22). In this case, Hamlet is a good example. The main tragedy that was suppose to happen was avenging for his father’s death and this is a serious and important action. Hamlet follows his order since he respects and loves his father. Looking at everything that happened throughout the play, the audience can clearly see that Hamlet’s father is a moral authority for him and that their relationship, as a father and a son, is strong.
In “Death of a Salesman”  Willy Loman is an unsuccessful salesman who has two children, Biff and Happy. Both of them he treats differently. Biff, the older son, was kind of a failure in Willy’s life because Biff did not follow his father’s advices but at the same time he was the only hope that Willy had to realize his own dreams. Happy, the younger son, did not spend a lot of time with his father because Willy was mostly occupied with Biff. But none of them was perfect for Willy. Often, the oldest son was favoured while the younger one was ignored. Willy did not even realize that he treats them differently. He simply wants Biff to be successful, in order for himself to get a chance to feel rich, through Biff’s experience. Since Willy can not be successful he wants at least his children to be. Willy did not lose his hope that one day Biff will become a successful business man “Certain men just don’t get started till later in life. Like Thomas Edison, I think. Or B.F. Goodrich.” (13). For Willy, Biff was the favourite son and throughout his life Biff had idolized him until he found out about his father’s affair with another woman. Biff was left angry and confused when he discovered that his father cheated on his mother. Willy was telling Biff that “anyone so confident, so gorgeous”(16) is going to be successful in life. Willy did not even have a clue that he is the one who is guilty and that it is Willy’s infidelity that caused Biff’s failure. Willy was Biff’s idol until he found out about his father’s infidelity, Biff lost his motivation and trust towards his father and gave up on everything. His feelings towards his father are mixed, he  still loves him, but no longer idolizes and respects him. Meanwhile Happy, even though he was ignored, says that he wants to achieve the dream that Willy failed to achieve.
  In both plays, actions which were made by Hamlet’s and Biff’s fathers, someway affected them and the relationship to father in Willy’s case. From the beginning, for Hamlet, his father was and will be his idol but for Willy, his father lost his power and authority from the moment when he found out about his affair with another woman. It affected Biff in a way that made him turn into an opposite version of his father dream son.

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