Comparison Between Joe Keller and Willy Loman

Topics: Arthur Miller, James Truslow Adams, Death of a Salesman Pages: 3 (1097 words) Published: January 31, 2013
Death of a Salesman and All of My Sons, two different plays written by distinguished playwright Arthur Miller, yet the two main characters Joe Keller and Willy Loman are notably identical to one another. Although both are not faced with similar situations, both Keller and Loman handle their situations with an ignorant and shallow mindset towards the world. Keller and Loman have significant tragic flaws which ultimately lead to their demise. Both characters are unable to accept reality the way others are capable of, the “American dream” has been corrupted and misinterpreted in their feeble minds, and abandonment has plagued them throughout their lives.

The “American dream” seems to play a monumental role in distinguishing what is essential to be successful. Joe Keller believes that his son, Chris, deserves the business he built from the ground, up and does absolutely everything in his power to ensure that Chris will obtain Joe’s business. In Joe’s eyes, risking the lives of soldiers, making an abomination out of his former “best friend”, and separating a family in order to keep his business running smoothly is deemed more worthy than doing the right thing. Joe feels that he has done the right thing because he carried out these actions for his family.

Willy Loman’s interpretation of the “American dream” is a tad bit more extravagant; Willy believes that the key to success is a matter of whether a person is well-liked or not. Throughout the course of his professional career as a salesman, Willy constantly concocts lies stating how he is well-liked all over the Northeast, as well as his weekly salary. Willy also tried to bring the dream upon his son Biff. While Willy’s son Biff was a student in high school, Willy continuously fed Biff these fantasies that one day, Biff would become a great football player. Willy preferred brawn over brains in Biff. Willy was unable to live the American dream and thus ventured on through Biff vicariously. When...
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