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Posted by U15230187 (U15230187) on Thursday, 3rd May 2012
Hello again i really appreciated the last post of mine you replied to and it really helped me.
I just have aonther question - when desciding conflict Willy has with other characters i was just wondering what quotes to use and some analysis of these relating to conflict.
Im not sure if there would be an essay question specifically on conflict but i knew it would help me thanks.
Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Friday, 4th May 2012
Conflict is a good theme to study, as most drama develops through three basic types of conflict:
1. Conflict WITHIN a character
2. Conflict BETWEEN characters
3. Conflict BETWEEN ideas/values
In the course of the play, Willy is in conflict with:
(a) Biff: he wants Biff to be a big success in business; Biff appears to be shaping up well until he gives up after he ‘flunked math’; in reality, the cause was that he discovered his father in a motel with a woman and his image of Willy was shattered.
In adulthood, Willy has frequent conflicts with Biff about his career.
(b) Howard: Willy comes into conflict with his employer Howard who does not value Willy’s lifetime of service to the firm; all Howard is interested in is profit.
(c) Ben: Willy’s brother’s interpretation of ‘the America Dream’ is to take advantage of ‘get rich quick’ opportunities in Alaska whereas Willy thinking he is ‘building something’ with the firm he works for.
(d) Willy is in conflict with himself (internal conflict) because he puts on the act of being confident and successful whereas he is in fact insecure as he has not achieved the material success which, in his eyes, is the most important thing in life. At the same time, he is a contradictory character who has a sentimental view of life, feeling nostalgia for the past and thinking that in the cut-throat business world personality and loyalty should count (‘be liked and you’ll never want’, etc).
A few relevant quotations (in no particular order):
1. “And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ‘cause one thing, boys: I have friends.”
This shows Willy’s outward act of confidence and popularity; it also shows how the way he brings up his sons leads to conflict, as they grow into adults who think the world owes them a living. As Biff says, Willy made them so full of themselves that they could not stand taking orders from anyone.
2. Willy says to Howard: “Your father came to me the day you were born and asked me what I thought of the name of Howard, may he rest in peace.” Shows Willy’s sentimental attachment to the past and his belief that loyalty counts, whereas Howard is ruthless and materialistic and merely uses people, discarding them when they have served their function. As Willy says, “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit”. Howard’s hard-headed business approach conflicts with Willy’s belief that “the man who makes an appearance in the business world is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.”
3. Biff: “Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?” Illustrates the conflict between father and son: Biff tries to force Willy to face up to reality, but Willy would rather remain in his fantasy world.
4. Biff : “I realised what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been” and (in the Requiem) “ He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.” Shows the conflict between Willy’s values and Biff. Happy, however, says: “He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have – to come out number one...” Shows how Happy will to some extent continue to live by Willy’s values.
5. Willy (talking of Ben) says: “The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich!” Shows Willy’s admiration for aggressive business techniques. It also shows Willy’s contradictions: he admires Ben yet Ben’s approach conflicts with his own notion of “Be liked and you will never want.”
PAST PAPER EXAMPLE:
There’s a question in the 2008 Higher English paper which asks about ‘a character who exists in a hostile environment’.
This could be applied to the conflicts Willy experiences and an answer could be structured around the following topic sentences:
• One aspect of the hostile environment in which Willy exists is his family life, particularly the deep-seated tension between Willy and his son Biff….
• Willy also faces a hostile environment in his business life. [conflict with Howard; clash between Willy’s values and the real world]
It might also be possible to discuss Willy’s inner conflicts here as well, by saying something like:
• Willy’s difficulties with his family and business environments are increased because of the inner conflicts he experiences [appearance/reality – claims to be a business success but knows he is not; feeling that he has failed his family, leading to his plan at the end to gain the insurance money; deep-seated guilt about what happened when Biff was younger]
Posted by U15230187 (U15230187) on Sunday, 6th May 2012
Thanks so much with that
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