I believe that the main downfall of the Loman family was Willy’s refusal to face reality. There are many examples of Willy’s inability to face reality within the novel. He lived in a fantasy world. One of the key examples was when Howard fired Willy. Willy was a horrible salesman who never was able to sell anything and deserved what was coming to him. He just couldn’t’ see this because he wouldn’t face the facts. Another prime example of Willy not being able to face reality involved his oldest son Biff. If Willy had faced reality he could have quit his job with Howard and the company and gotten a job with Charlie.
Charlie was always offering Willy work, but he never took it because he was ” such a good salesman. ” Once Willy lost his job, he was depressed, but tried to shrug it off. He never did take a job with Charlie, even after he lost his job. Again he could not face the reality, but in the end this led to his tragic flaw, suicide. Biff was very popular and athletic in high school. Even though Biff was a star football player, you need more than pure athleticism to get you places in life. Willy didn’t understand this and when Biff began to fail math he didn’t worry about it.
Instead he had Biff keep practicing football. Willy assured his oldest son that his teacher would understand his need to play college ball and would pull up his grade a few points. This was not the case and Biff’s math teacher ended up failing him for the semester. Without passing high school, Biff could not enter college and get a college degree. He ended up traveling out west. If Willy had realized that Biff needed to concentrate a little more on his grades, he could have made something of himself. If Willy had faced the reality of life, he would have made more of himself.
Taking a job with Charlie was more realistic and would have provided for his family. He also would have made a better life for his sons, Biff and Happy. One of Willy’s strong beliefs was if you are well liked that’s all you needed in life. This obviously wasn’t the case, because Biff was well liked, but never made it far after high school because of his father’s unrealistic dreams and expectations for him. Willy’s unrealistic views and expectations eventually became evident to him, and he realized too late the mistakes that he had made.