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Death Of A Salesman, Willy Loman analysis

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Introduction

English Assignment Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller How much sympathy does Willy Loman deserve? Willy Loman, like millions of others, dreamed of improving himself and his family. Willy's life and death, I feel are extremely tragic, he has been working as a travelling salesman for the last forty years of his life, never really amounting to anything and not until the very end of his life has he managed to pay off his mortgage. Willy Loman, is someone who suffers from a mental illness. Therefore, I believe his plight is tragic as he seems unaware of this at times, he lives a delusional life in which he has regular conversations with his deceased brother Ben. To a certain extent his life has been an epic failure, he has not achieved what he had wished, at least not in reality. Therefore, I feel it is hard not to feel sympathy for Willy, as his demise I feel is upsetting and to a certain extent heart-rending. Willy despite proclaiming he is a great salesman and a successful one at that, in his entire life, it is evident that he is not. He constantly wishes that he had travelled to Alaska alongside his brother, where he could attain a better life for him and his family and this is something that weighs heavily on his mind. It may have been be a contributing factor to mental illness. On numerous occasions he questions his deceased brother for ideas on how to succeed. ...read more.

Middle

This delusional state of mind that Willy finds himself, I believe, evokes compassion for Willy. There are numerous parts in the story in which Willy's profession is discussed by other characters. F irstly Biff states "He never knew who he was" "He had the wrong dreams" moreover Charley also speaks of how "He was a happy man with a batch of cement." Linda adds to this saying that he "Was so wonderful with his hands". We are left wondering if possibly things could have been different for Willy if he had been in a different profession other than as a salesman. All four are reminiscing of the good times that they had directly after the burial of Willy and these good memoires that they hold of him involve him working. Biff talks about how "there were a lot of good days... making the stoop, putting on the new porch, finishing the cellar". Biff continues saying that "There's more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made" This revelation by Biff further adds to the argument that maybe he was not best suited to his job, it is evident throughout the text that he is not as successful as he makes out to be, nor did he achieve his primary aim which was to be popular and have the kind of funeral that he wanted, Linda says "Why didn't anybody come? and "Where were all the people he knew". ...read more.

Conclusion

He seems to have lost his grip on reality and is somewhat perplexed to say the least. Which is evident none more so in his conversations with his deceased brother. It is apparent that Willy's ideals are erroneous, his whole working life has been devoted to chasing the American Dream through attaining popularity which he feels is the key to success. Miller alludes to the fact that the audience should feel a certain degree of sympathy for Willy and firmly believes that he is a tragic hero. He defines tragedy as a situation in which something good could've happened to an ordinary person, but because of their failure to take advantage of it, they succumb to failure and tragedy. (Miller, "Tragedy..."). Willy's "underlying fear of being displaced" is the real tragedy. He added, "the tragic feeling is invoked whenever we are in the presence of a character, any character, who is ready to sacrifice his life, if need be, to secure one thing, his sense of personal dignity." Although ultimately being a failure in his life, when he took his own life, it as a selfless act because in dying he provided financial security for his wife and his family. Furthermore, Arthur Miller added in 'On Joy in Tragedy', states "tragedy occurs when a man misses accomplishing his joy" and Willy Loman certainly did not accomplish what he had sought after, his name establishes this from the outset, his name is a play on words Loman - 'Low-man' which I feel is a intentional ploy utilised by Miller. James Coxon ...read more.

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