American Lit. Pd 6
Death of a Salesman Literary Analysis
For many critics and people, Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman is one of the greatest plays ever written. This play tells a tale of an aging salesman named Willy Loman who believes that being “well-liked” is the key to success. Willy Loman is the protagonist and tragic hero in this play. Willy, like all tragic heros, has a flaw that leads to his demise. Willy’s pride does not allow him to accept help from others and forces him to live in denial. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses characterization through Willy’s actions to depict the fall of a modern tragic hero in his quest to reach the American Dream.
Willy Loman’s false hopes to become a successful salesman come from meeting a man by the name of Dave Singleman. He sees two things that particularly separate Singleman from other people, how “well-liked” he is and how much money he has made because of it. This is the reason Willy wants to be a salesman so badly. While in Howard’s office about to be fired Willy says this “ And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ‘Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people” (Miller 28)
This quote by Willy accurately showcases his obsession with being “well-liked” and shows his ongoing struggle to attain the love and respect he so badly desires. Instead of going the more practical route and getting a job that involves him using the skills that he already possesses he goes into sales , which will prove to be a mistake later on. According to Leah Hadomi, in Fantasy and Reality: Dramatic Rhythm in Death of a Salesman, Willy idolizes Dave Singleman because he represents a form of success that is attainable through less work than others. She states, “Of...