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Death of a Salesman – Characters

Updated September 16, 2022

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Death of a Salesman – Characters essay

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“Willy Loman is destroyed by his own ideals” Willy Loman is a travelling salesman who has worked for the Wagner firm for 34 years. He is now 61 years old and his job has been taken off salary and put on commission. He has a family and he boasts to them that he is “vital in New England,” but in fact he isnt vital anywhere.

Willy has many strong beliefs that he strives to achieve. He wants to own his own business and he wants to be “bigger than Uncle Charley” and especially he wants to be a great success and he tries to emulate Dave Singleman. He wishes to die the “Death of a Salesman” and have many buyers and salesmen mourn for him. He also tries to be a good father, and husband. However Willys aims in life have been useless as he hasnt really achieved anything.

He got fired by Howard, his sons are both failures and they abandoned him in a restaurant toilet. His relationship with his wife is plagued by his guilt for committing adultery. He has to borrow $50 a week from Charley. He cant even keep his mind on one thing for a long time.

He cant drive a car. Willy gets so fed up with all of these things that he wants to commit suicide and eventually, he does. This topic suggests that Willys deterioration occurs because the principals he believes in. To a large extent this is true. After 34 years of Willys life, he loses his job.

To a normal person under normal circumstances, being retrenched is a time when you feel useless. But for Willy, since everything else is going wrong at the same time, he feels like a useless old man. Willy thought that just because he named his boss, that he would have a secure future with the company but as Charley said “them things dont mean anything? You named him Howard, but you cant sell that.” Even though Willy wasnt even getting paid a salary, Howard didnt want him to even represent the company in case Willy “cracked up” again. Although Willy is mostly destroyed by his own ideals there are other things that destroy him as well, like Howard, Happy and Biff. Willy is emotionally destroyed when Howard fires him.

Then, both of his sons disown and abandon him in Franks Chop House. Both Happy and Biff left their father talking to himself in the bathroom while they wanted to have a good night out with the girls. That also destroyed Willy because it showed that his sons didnt really care if he lived or died. Willy cant even drive a car though because he cant keep his mind on anything for a long period of time. In the past he has had a few car accidents because his mind keeps wandering “Where are you guys, where are you? The woods are burning! I cant drive a car!” Willy knows though that he is deteriorating and that nobody can help him except for him. Willy Loman, is indeed a low man.

He has a very low self esteem and the only person that really doesnt love him is himself. Willy had great goals (ideals) in practice, but the only thing that he didnt realize is that if he didnt achieve those goals it wouldnt be the end of the world. Willy took it a step to far though, he thought that his life wasnt worth living anymore, therefore Willy Loman was definitely destroyed by his own ideals.

Death of a Salesman – Characters essay

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Death of a Salesman – Characters. (2018, Nov 07). Retrieved from