Character analysis essay about the play death of a salesman


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We don't even call him a cheater. Because we understand the psychology behind his affair. He is simply trying to escape. Which brings us, right on schedule, to the end of the play. As we all know, Willy kills himself. But why?

Character Analysis of Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Well, he was clearly still harboring misguided hopes about success for Biff. It seems Willy would rather kill himself than accept the fact that really, honestly, all his son wants is some shirtless sweaty time in Midwestern haystacks. The point is, Willy is still deluded when he kills himself.

We all know the money isn't going to be used to start a business. What's sad is that Willy doesn't. That final delusion is almost worse than his death itself. Speaking of this death, let's talk about the title of the play. Willy was always in pursuit of being the perfect salesman, and before he kills himself he expresses a wish to die "the death of a salesman.

To answer that, we have to ask ourselves just what does it mean to be a salesman in this play? We know what it means in Willy's mind if we say "well-liked" one more time… , but Charley brings up an interesting point at the funeral: part of being a salesman is having a dream.

Death of a Salesman 1985

Part of being a salesman is about selling yourself. We'll let you take it from there. If you saw Willy Loman sitting across from you on a bus, you probably wouldn't peg him for a hero. If you got to know him, it would probably seem even less likely. Still, Willy Loman is often thought of as a hero. Of course, he's a particular kind of hero: a tragic hero.

Death of a Salesman

The ancient Greeks were the first to write about these doomed souls. But how is slouchy old Willy Loman in any way similar to the heroes of Greek tragedy? Well, dear Shmoopsters, they share a little thing the Greeks liked to call hamartia. This word is often translated as "tragic flaw," but it's more accurately translated as "a missing of the mark" or a "mistake made in ignorance. Just like Oedipus, Willy Loman goes through his life blindly, never realizing the full truth of himself. Willy refuses to admit that he's a failure. You could say that the idea of hamartia is seen in Willy through his delusional personality.

Also, like Oedipus and almost all tragic heroes, Willy's hamartia causes his own downfall. In the end, Willy's delusions lead him to take his own life. Charley lends Willy fifty dollars a week, sometimes more, in order to help Willy pay the bills. However, whenever Charley offers Willy a decent job, Willy becomes insulted.

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He is too proud to accept a job from his rival and friend. It would be an admission of defeat. Charley might be a surly old man, but Miller has imbued this character with a great deal of pity and compassion. In every scene, we can see that Charley hopes to gently steer Willy onto a less self-destructive path. In their last scene together, Willy confesses: "Charley, you're the only friend I got.

Isn't that a remarkable thing. When Willy ultimately commits suicide, it makes the audience wonder why he could not embrace the friendship that he knew existed. Too much guilt? Mental instability? Too much of a coldhearted business world? Share Flipboard Email. His plays have been performed throughout the U. S and the U.

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Updated March 19, Willy Loman was born in the late s. We learn that he is 63 in Act One.

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His nomadic father and family roamed across the country in a wagon. According to Ben, their father was a great inventor, but he doesn't specify what sort of gadgets he created, with the exception of his hand-crafted flutes. Willy remembers being a toddler, sitting around a fire and listening to his father play the flute. It is one of his only memories of his father. Just wanna be careful with those girls, Biff, that's all. Don't make any promises.


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He runs a business with his son that has been successful. His son, Bernard, is a powerful attorney. Charley offers money to Willy to help with his bills. Willy betrays a real moment of weakness when he tells Charley that he is his only friend. By clicking "Log In", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. Diana from A Research Guide Don't know how to start your paper?

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