Willy Loman, a Man With A Dream. Character in "Death of a Salesman" by Miller

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Willy Loman: A Man With A Dream

A common idea presented in literature is the issue of

the freedom of the individual in opposition to the

controlling pressures of society. Willy Loman, the main

character in Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller,

epitomizes this type of person; one who looks to his peers

and co-salesman as lesser individuals. Not only was he

competitive and overbearing, but Willy Loman sought after an

ideal that he could never become: the greatest salesman

ever. Determined to make money, Willy became uncontrollable

and somewhat insane. Through his dialogue and actions,

Willy Loman portrays a character of insecurity, persistence,

and unknown identity.

From the very beginning of his life, Willy Loman

experienced problems with his popularity and personality.

His last name is a pun on a 'low man.' He is at the bottom

of the business world as an unsuccessful salesman. In

addition, his theories on life and society prove to be very

degrading, not to mention influential to his mind set every

day. Willy believes that being well-liked and having a

personal attractiveness, together, can bring success, money,

and many friends. Ironically, Willy does not have many

friends and many people do not like him. With a beauty

unlike others, Willy thinks that doors will open and

problems will all disappear.

As a salesman, Willy developed many hindrances that

caused his mind to deteriorate. His life as a salesman was

built on a dream that he witnessed as a child. At an early

age, Willy heard of a salesman, Dave Singleman, who could

make his living out of a hotel room. Singleman was very

successful and when he died, people from all over the

country came to his funeral. It was this ideal that Willy

Loman sought after. All he ever wanted was fame,

popularity, and a few friends. Unfortunately, when Willy

died, not a single person went to his funeral. His life,

one that was spent trying to become another person, namely

Dave Singleman, was a waste as no-one even wanted to see him


In reflection of his career with the Wagner Company,

many other problems arose that forced economic difficulties

on him and his family. He was determined to live by ideals

that placed him above everyone else. It was with these lies

and illusions that Willy's life began to lose its' air of

reality. He lost his identity, courage, and dignity

throughout New England as a salesman. And as he explained

often, 'I have friends...They know me up and down New

England.' Realistically, though, Willy was not successful.

He did not have friends and people did not like him in New


'With his self-identity weakened and undermined, Willy

lost his grasp of things in general.' (P.P Sharma, critical

analysis) He spent hours on hours dreaming of the past.

Thinking of himself and his son Biff who had potential, but

did not take advantage of it. Biff was Willy's inspiration

as a father. He had the determination to become a great

football player, not to mention make something with his life

and the Loman name. However, Biff flunked math and threw

all of his opportunities away. It was with these

circumstances that Biff and his father began to separate.

Willy always promised his sons prosperity and good-fortune,

but he could not give that to him and when he lost Biff, his

life became an even larger failure.

In other memories and illusions, Willy often replays

the moments with his brother, Ben. Specifically, the time

when Willy was offered a job in Alaska; the job which would

have made him an enormous amount of money haunts Willy every

time he tries to sell his Wagner stockings, only to have his

sales come up lame. With low sales and age, Willy decided

to ask for a job in New York. And it was at this time that

his company decided to stop paying by salary, but solely on...
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