The theme of self-deception has been explored fully in the family of Willy Loman. This is especially evident in the beliefs of Willy Loman, who is ever hopeful and never acts on his wishes. In fact, in the whole story, Willy cannot distinguish reality from illusion. This is evident in the book when Willy Loman and his sons believe that they are great people in the society, and they have all the qualities to make them successful in the business world. This is, however, not the case, Willy and his sons are actually not great people in the society, and they have nothing to make them great people. They fail in business.
Willy Loman believes that to be successful it is enough for one to be liked. This belief of Willy made him struggle to be liked admired by people while showing no signs of being successful. There are times when Willy goes into flashbacks and conversations that occurred years ago. It shows that Willy has been predominantly living a virtual life; in fact, he was always living in his pasts. The aspect of Willy thinking that he is liked even makes him have extra maital affairs with whores, and he thinks he is great by doing this. However, this is actually one of his big downfalls (Miller, 1930).
At the time that Willy takes away his life, he has been driven to committing suicide by the aspect of self-deception. Self-deception drives Willy to believe that a man can be worth more death than to stay alive. It is this deception that drives Willy to eventually commit suicide. If Willy had any form of reality in his life, he could have seen the need of being alive to chase after his dreams of being a great business person. Willy Loman lives a life full of self-deception. He has dreams, which he has not put in efforts to achieve.
When he is offered a well-paid job by his very rich and successful neighbor, Willy turns down the offer without giving any reasons. He, in fact, lives with a personal pride that never pays him any returns. The offer from the neighbor is the best chance for Willy to pursue a new life full of reality, but he fails to see this chance. Instead, he goes ahead to finally lose it and continue living a life full of missery and confusion. This later prompts him to commit suicide (Miller, 1930).
There is no doubt that the sons and wife of Willy Loman are also living lives full of self- deception. They have been constantly following Willy’s confused life until he commits suicide. They never inform him to stop dreaming and live a life full of reality. In fact after Willy’s death, the wife sits at his grave wondering why Willy decided to take his life away. This is a clear indicator of the dysfunctional values of the American society that led him to preferring death to life (Miller, 1930).
It is evident that whole Loman family is living a life of self-deception when they fill their existence with regrets after the death of Willy Loman. All of them feel that they have made very many mistakes in the past and lived a life away from reality by following their father. In fact, Biff, Willy’s son, looks back in life when his father was confused and cheated, but he still idolized him. This is a strong reason to show that the whole family lived a life full of self-deception.