The two brothers show contrasting beliefs, principles, and consequently, values.Biff, the elder son does not care much about publicity and fame built on daydreams, but rather wants to embrace and face the real situation, unlike Willy-his father and his brother Happy.Discussion will be mainly on Willy’s life, his approach to things and decision making which exhibit his values, then discussion on those of his sons.
The play is a critique of the popular ‘American Dream’, and of the rather competitive and materialistic 1940’s American society.
In the story line, Miller features the main character, Willy Loman, who is an average man who tries hard to hide his average state and his failures behind grandeur delusions in his quest to become a “success” (Murphy p 5).
This exemplifies his liberal mid, which many sons/children do so often in families- choosing their paths other than those mapped for them by their folks.
On the other hand, the second-born son, Happy, looks at his father as a role model, and does not wish that his legacy goes down the drain after his death, and so opts to walk in his father’s shoes.
However, one can see by his actions and even his words that he has a deeper set of values that he tries to deny.
In the time that the play is set there is a shift in the values of American society which come through as well.
His father thinks that he could be a very successful person if only he stopped wasting his talents and gets on track.
Bill spites his father for his dreams, something Willy believes to be too wish-washy.
This wakes up everyone in the house and they discover that something was wrong with their father.
Biff thinks that the best he would do is to stay back home, fix his relationship with Willy by taking up a loan from his former employer, Bill Oliver, and start a business.