The Unsuccessful Willy Loman

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陈芳妹 Fangmei Chen
Class 05 Readings from 20th Century British and American Drama

The Unsuccessful Willy Loman
Willy,as a man of 63,is supposed to come to an age where everything should be settled down.However,he is still suffering in his job even before he commits suicide.His financial situation is unsecure.His wife has to repair her stockings instead of buying a new one.And he has to borrow money from his neigbour Charley,though he never returns them. What has led to Willy’s unsucess in life,and finally even the tragedy of killing himself,we may wonder.My personal opinion is that Willy’s own personality and his illison of success has caused the final unpleasant fact of being unsuccessful. PEOPLE’S OPINIONS

Some critics say that this is due to the fierce competition of the society.He works all his life and when he gets old and becomes less productive,the society,represented by his boss Howard Wagner,still puts him on straight commission,and,when Willy asked for “not travel” on roads(61),he refused and fired him.Even some pointed out that “Willy was a man who has worked all his life by the machinery of Democracy and Free Enterprise and was then spit mercilessly out, spent like a "piece of fruit."”[1] Others say this is due to his blind belief in the American Dream. According to Matthew Warshauer, “Traditionally, Americans have sought to realise the American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work.”[2] As for Willy,he has been on the road when he was only 19.He went through all the hustle and bustle all his life and still failed to success and get what he wants.In this case,he seems to be the victim of believing in the American Dream.But is it true?The answer will reveal itself later during the discovery of his personality. WILLY’S PERSONALITY

When trying to find out more about Willy’s personalities,his job as a salesman can be regarded as an open sesame for us to know him. Old Dave is the man who makes an decisive influence on Willy when it comes to the moment of choosing his future career.From Willy’s remembrance of the past,Dave Singleman is a man of 84 who can sit in his room and pick up a phone and then make money.And also, “he died the death of a salesman,in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York” and “hundreds of salesman and buyers were at his funeral.”(63)Because of the seemingly comfort and respect of this job,Willy made a final conclusion that salesman was what he wanted to be. Just simply seeing Old Dave’s success and then trying to make himself a salesman indicates Willy’s lack of self-reflection as a part of his personality.Firstly,Willy is different from Old Dave. Dave Singleman doesn't have a family and seems to enjoy his lifestyle as being alone(indicated by“Singleman”) and being a salesman.He knows better of himself than Willy of what he is doing and is doing it successfully. Willy,however,deep in his heart,is in great need of love. In the flashback of the love affair in Boston,Willy said that “ ‘Cause I get so lonely----especially when bussiness is bad and there is nobody to talk to.”(173) He can’t bear the loneliness of leaving his family and travelling on roads all the time while this is what a salesman’s job demands for. How can a person who can’t adapt himself well to his job be a successful person,or at least a happy person? We can see more details about how he feels about his job and find out how his own personality has an effect on his job,which is a failure in most degree. Sometimes he thinks lowly of himself and doing self-accusation. As he said to Linda, “My God,if businses don’t pick up I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” “I gotta be at it ten,twelve hours a day.Other men---I don’t know ---they do it easier.I don't know why---I can’t stop myself—I talk too much.” “I’m fat.I’m very-foolish to look...
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