Death of a Salesman

Topics: The Flaws, Welfare state, Social safety net Pages: 3 (1038 words) Published: October 8, 1999
By: Raleigh Mullin

In the play, Death of a Salesman, the main character, Willy Loman's tragedy is due to both his own flawed character and society's flaws. Advancements in science throughout this century have led to tremendous advancements in industry. In this case however, advancements in industry have not always led to advancements in living conditions. For some, society has created mass wealth. For Willy Loman, however, mass society has created only tremendous grief and hardship, based on endless promise. For these reasons, his tragedy is due both to societies flaws and to the flaws in his own character. It was society who stripped him of his dignity, piece by piece. It was society who stripped him of his lifestyle, and his own sons who stripped him of hope. The most obvious flaw in society is greed. This is the desire to get ahead of the next guy. It is the philosophy of businesses that compromise the dreams of many men. Though sometimes this can drive a man to great things, sometimes it can drive a man to ruin. Willy Loman was a simple man driven to ruin by greed. However, this was not by his own greed, but by that of others. The developers' greed took away the sun and left him with only shadows. Willy's boss reduced him to commission and even his sons reduced him to a failure. All of this greed around him led him to ruin. The next largest flaw in society is a lack of compassion. This could be as a result of overwhelming greed. The main culprit or cause of this flaw is big business. "I'm always in a race with the junkyard! I just finished paying for the car and it's on it last legs. The refrigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac. They time those things." (Act 2, Page __, lines 16-19) It was Willy's belief in this statement that drew him to believe that big business lacked compassion. It is this flaw that allowed him to die a slow death and which played the greatest role in his eventual downfall. The third and largest flaw in society is the lack of...
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