No ones life can be classified as normal. Everyone has conflicts that they have to eventually deal with. People do in fact deal with these personal conflicts in different ways; some take it easy some take it hard. Some ignore the problem as long as possible and some deal with it right away to get it out of the way. In Death of a Salesman, Willy Lowmans technique to his problem solving leads to severe consequences. Willy never does anything to help the situation; he just escapes into the past to happier times when there were few problems. He uses this escape as if it was a drug, and as the play goes on, this drug becomes dangerous, leading him to his death.
The first time Willy is seen dazing off into the past is when he discovers Biff arriving home. The conversation between Willy and Linda reflects Willys disappointment in Biff and what Willy thinks he has become basically a bum. After failing to deal with his feelings, he escapes to a time when things were better for his family. It is not uncommon for one to think of better times at low points in their life in order to cheer them up so that they are able to deal with problems, but Willy Lowman takes it a step ahead. His stubbornness to accept reality is so strong that in his mind he is placed back in time to relive one of the happier days of his life. It was a time when no one argued. Willy and Linda were younger, the financial situation was less of a burden, and Biff and Happy welcomed their father back home from being on a long work trip.
Willys need for the drug reassures himself that everything will turn out okay and that his family will be happy once again like it was in the past.
The next flashback occurs during a discussion between Willy and Linda. Willy is depressed about his inability to make enough money to support his family, his looks, and his personality. My God if business doesnt pick up, I dont know what I am going to do!(1808) is what Willy said after Linda figures out that they are in fact in debt. Then he blurts out without letting any reply to his comment, Im Fat..Foolish to look at (1809). In doing this, once again he gets a flashback and the woman who he is in fact having an affair with visits him. Her purpose is to cheer him up. She does so by saying, You do make me laugh..And I think you are a wonderful man (1810). That reassures him and the woman leaves. Once again, Willy gets out of his hardship by using the past.
The next day when Willy is fired after finally asking his boss if he can be relocated, is when his next trip to the past occurs. During this episode of the play, which is very dramatic, a flashback hits him once again. This time maybe the biggest flashback
Willy has ever experienced. He is brought back to what might be the happiest time in his life. Biff was going to play at Ebbet field in an All- Scholastic game. At this time, Willy could not be happier for his two sons. Willys dependence of his flashbacks is becoming greater and he can not be sane for much longer. Too much of anything, even a good thing can become a bad thing. This is about to happen in his next flashback, when this time it doesnt help him out it just hurts him.
In this flashback, he is brought back to one of the most disturbing times in his life. Its the day that Biff had discovered his fathers mistress while visiting him on one of his trips to ask him to come back home and negotiate with his math teacher. You now learn why Willy and Biff are so tense with eachother and why things will never be the same.
Throughout the play, the present has been full of misfortune and hardships between the family. The past for Willy on the other hand, to him is filled with joy and excitement. The question at hand is when is, the turning point between the joyous past and the unfortunate present. Now that the event is revealed and Willy is out of good memories to return to, things change. Willy in his lifetime uses his joyous memories as a drug to cope with the misfortunes of the present. The way he overuses his vivid imagination is sad because the only thing it is good for is enabling Willy to go through one more day of his piteous life, full of bitterness, confusion, depression, false hopefulness, and a feeling of love which he is trying very hard to express to his sons who seem reluctant to accept it.