Willy distorts reality by exaggerating the past in order to satisfy his unmet hopes of the present.
It is weird how different events of the past can change so rapidly when they travel from one person to another. Every time the story or event increases in excitement and drama. No one wants to tell a boring story so they add something to it. Soon enough you have a completely different story. It is in this concept that one realizes Willys twisted images of the past. Willy had so many hopes and dreams, one of them being that he would be well liked and known by everyone. Because of this dream, Willy distorts the reality of his job and his friends. Willy tells his kids of his times out at work and how the police would watch his car as if it were their own. He also told them of the time when he and the Mayor of Providence sat down for a cup of coffee together. Neither of these stories was real, but in Willys mind these things happen all the time.
Willy lies to himself so much that he cant distinguish between right and wrong, and past or present. It is all one big lie, and the closer Willy comes to the realization of this lie, the closer he gets to death. One sees an example of this when Willy tells his wife that the walls are closing in on him. It is interesting that when Willy believes his son Biff is going to make something out of his life, the world is beautiful, and fertile. But, when Willy realizes that Biff is failing in life, the world closes in on him. And when the world closes on him, so does the lid to his coffin.
Willy distorted reality by exaggerating the past in order to satisfy his unmet hopes of the present. And it is in this that the doors of life closed on him. Sometimes we all need to step back and realize are own unreachable dreams so the doors of life dont slam in our faces right as we are walking in.