top-rated free essay

Death of a Salesman - Minor Characters

Oct 08, 1999 605 Words
In the play Death of a Salesman, the plot is affected by three minor characters: Ben, Charley and Howard. The minor characters help the story's protagonist, Willy, develop extensively throughout the course of the play; therefore, they are key elements in the advancing story line. This story line blends and contrasts Willy's closest companions, Ben and Charley. They represent two aspects of Willy's ideals. Howard, Willy's boss, functions in order to heighten the destruction of Willy's dream. The characters Ben, Charley and Howard are influential in the play's outcome and help develop the main character, Willy. <br>

<br>Ben is a figment of Willy's imagination who represents his idealistic view of prosperity. Ben is symbolic of the success of the American Dream. "when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich"(48). Ben earned his affluence without the help of an education or job. Willy is continuously misled with delusion illusions of grandeur by Ben. "What are you building? Lay your hand on it. Where is it?"(86). Ben questions the success of Willy's sales job and states that in order to be prosperous, one must physically touch it. Ben represents the success of the American Dream and functions in order to make Willy doubt the actions of hard work. <br>

<br>Charley is Willy's closest friend and he displays the failure of Willy Loman's ideals. He is a very realistic character who attempts to convince Willy that his goals are all wrong. "The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell"(97). Willy believes that in order to be a success, one must be well liked; therefore, Charley explains to Willy that good business will make someone prosperous. The failure of Willy's ideals are again represented with his envious attitude towards Charley. "You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool!"(98). Charley is successful due to hard work and this has angered Willy because it is contrary to his beliefs. The failure of Willy Loman's ideals are apparent because of the success of his closest friend, Charley. <br>

<br>Howard's character functions in order to represent the bitter reality from which the protagonists tries to escape. The reality of the situation is presented before Willy when he is fired by Howard. "No, but it's a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight"(80). Howard explains to Willy that, contrary to his beliefs, the business world is a harsh environment void of compassion and preference. Howard increases the mood of the play when he reveals the desperation of Willy's situation. "Sure, they're only a hundred and a half. You can't do without it"(78). Howard is very capable of purchasing the machine of which he speaks; however, Willy is far from being able to accomplish such a purchase. The impression of Willy's failure is heightened through his dealings with Howard. <br>

<br>Through the actions of the minor characters in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman's character develops throughout the play. These minor characters, Ben, Willy and Howard, are influential in the outcome of the story because they provide the reader with comparisons between themselves and the protagonist. Through their interactions, Willy's character is able to evoke an emotional response from the reader; therefore, the minor characters are key in the developing plot. These interactions are associated with Willy's delusions of grandeur which pertain to success and life.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Death of a Salesman, Charley's Character Anaysis

    ...we see more in a person, a story, a character, or a situation than what is presented forth to us. Joseph A. Hynes argues that Charley’s character from Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is contradicted when he gives a speech in the Requiem. Hynes argues that it, “pulls Charley out of shape,” and, “ends the play by committing Charley ...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman: Character Analysis of Willy

    ...Death of a Salesman As a mentally unstable man, Willy has a very complex relationship with the people around him, which come a great deal from his own guilt and insecurity. His relationship with three of the characters strongly stands out from the others. These characters are his oldest son Biff, his only friend and neighbor Charley, and Bi...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Discuss “Death of a Salesman” as a film. How could this film be more film-like? The well known late 1980’s play Death of a Salesman was beautifully crafted and opened my mind up to the reality of some people’s fantasies. When I first began to watch the play, I had immediately noticed that it was a play and not a movie. Usually in a...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Attention Must Be Paid to Death of a Salesman When Arthur Miller wrote "Death of a Salesman" many considered it a modern masterpiece. It has spurred debate among academics and stirred the emotions of hundreds of thousands of audiences and readers alike. However, there is a growing trend among many who approach this play to condemn Willy Loma...

    Read More

    ...ENGLISH ESSAY – DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller No one has a perfect life; everyone has conflicts that they must face sooner or later. The ways in which people deal with these personal conflicts can differ as much as the people themselves. Some insist on ignoring the problem for as long as possible, while others face up to the prob...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Death of a Salesman In the play “Death of a Salesman” the major character was the father Willy Loman. He was the father of two sons Biff and Buddy Loman and a busy business man who had a dream that he wanted to pursue. “Death of a Salesman” is based on painful conflict with a family and it also talks about family issues that are going...

    Read More
  • Death of a Salesman

    ...Willy Loman’s character can be perceived as a ‘worthless commodity in a capitalist society’ or as ‘an ordinary man’. Making close reference to the play, evaluate these two interpretations and assess what you think Miller was trying to show through his character. The 1949 Arthur Miller play, ‘Death of a Salesman’ gave birth to Wi...

    Read More
  • Death Of A Salesman

    ...Caylin Hubble AP Literature Literary Analysis Essay Revisiting the Past The past is complex; it cannot be repeated, nor altered, so why do so many people try to relive it? In Death of a Salesman, Willy tries on multiple occasions to relive his past through his memories. The whole Loman family did not want to face their situations, most of t...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.