¶ … Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Specifically it will compare and contrast the character of Willy Loman, the main character in the play. Willy is a salesman who is getting older and losing the advantage he had in his business. On one side, Willy is a volunteer, because he brings his problems on himself. On the other side, Willy is a victim of society; his problems are not his fault. He sets himself up for failure all the time, and he cannot acknowledge that to himself or his family.
Willy brings on his problems himself with his behavior, his failure to face reality, and his stubborn attitude. For example, he admires Ben his brother, and Howard, the uncaring business owner, because he thinks they are successful. However, Miller portrays them as rude, ruthless, and uncaring, and Willy is unable to see that their behavior is wrong. Ben, his rich brother, could have helped the family, but he ignored them. In a dream sequence, he tells Willy, "With one gadget he made more in a week than a man like you could make in a lifetime" (Miller 748). He is arrogant and allows the Lomans to suffer when they did not have to, but Willy is too proud and stubborn to ask for help, and he cannot see this is wrong. He allows his family to suffer because of his pride, and he is a volunteer to his own unhappiness.
Willy also has an affair with a woman he meets on the road, and that is just another sign that he is a volunteer and sets himself up in situations that bring on problems. "The Woman" creates problems in the family, too, something Willy could have controlled if he had not had the affair. His son Biff discovers Willy with "The Woman" by accident, and the discovery alters his life. He is disappointed with his father, so he leaves the family instead of going to college, and this ruins all of his father's ...
Willy also cannot accept love from those around him. Linda and the boys really do love him, even if they do not always show it. Linda says, "And the boys, Willy. Few men are idolized by their children the way you are" (Miller 742). She tries to lift him up when he is depressed, and she truly is worried about his actions and his subtle suicide attempts, but she cannot get through to him because he thinks he is unlovable and a failure, so he sets himself up for his problems, in a way creating his own failure. Even his suicide at the end of the play is a failure, because he thinks the family will get the insurance money, but they will not, because the insurance company knows his car accident was a suicide. He is a sad character, but he did not have to be that way, he volunteered himself and made his own troubles, so his fate is all in his own hands.
As the play progresses, he becomes more unbalanced, and he is no longer in charge of himself or his life, again adding to his own misery. He becomes increasingly convinced of strange things, like the need to plant a vegetable garden. Toward the end of the play he says, "Carrots quarter-inch apart. Rows one foot rows" (Miller 793), as he plants the garden in the dark, and it is clear he is losing his grip on reality. He has imaginary conversations with people that are not really there, he is convinced that his actions are rational when they are not, and he even turns down a job from his friend Charley because of his pride, which is totally irrational. His life is falling apart, and at every step, he has made bad choices, and so, he is in his own way and creates his own problems, leaving his family alone and destitute after he dies. He could have done many other things with his life, and he could have treated his family better, so they did not always fight and bully each other, but he chose not too.
On the other side, Willy can be seen as a victim in this play. His boss, Howard, literally puts him out on the street with no prospects, when Willy has worked hard for him for decades. He is cruel and unsympathetic, and…
He sets himself up for failure all the time, and he cannot acknowledge that to himself or his family.
Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is about a sad salesman, Willy Loman has spent his entire adult life in sales, with little success, but always believing affirming that a man who is well-liked is always successful. There have been many film and television versions of Miller's play since its first performance in 1949. The 1966 version directed by Alex Segal and starring Lee J. Cobb has
He can't let go of the idea that popularity and wealth are what are most important in a man. In the second act, Willy receives a terrible blow. He explains to his boss, Howard, how he met a salesman when he was about 19, and admired the man's skills, and decided that sales was the very best job a man could have. But he tells Howard he's tired, and he
Willy suffers from the consequences of the internal and external conflicts in his life. One of the antagonists in this story is the false promise of the American Dream, not another person per se. Willy is unable to become rich and show his family his own worth through material possessions, despite his hard work and perseverance, which is a conflict to him because he believed that would happen. He believes
"(Miller, 96) However, even if it can appear that Willy's death is a further failure and humiliation, Happy points out at his funeral that Loman had the braveness to pursue his dream to the end, despite the fact that he did not succeed: "I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. it's the only dream you can have
The truth is simply too difficult to accept, so he turns a blind eye to it. For Willy, denial is easier than reinventing a new life. He believes that somehow, he will get an advance and "come home with a New York job" (Miller II.1070-1). He believes he can still get a promotion and never have to "get behind another wheel" (II.1071) again. These beliefs, while they are positive,
Arthur Miller / Lorraine Hansberry The idea of the "American Dream," of achieving material success through one's own efforts, is not merely a constant topic in American literature, it seems to be a fundamental archetype of American national mythology. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and the popular stories of Horatio Alger in the 19th century established this motif as central to the American concept of manhood: we can see the precise