• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine Arthur Miller's presentation of the characters of Charley and Bernard in "Death of a Salesman". What do they contribute to the play as a whole?

Extracts from this document...


Examine Miller's presentation of the characters of Charley and Bernard. What do you think they contribute to the play as a whole? On close examination of the characters of Charley and Bernard, their significance and contributions to the play as a whole become evident. Each character influences and changes the play in a unique way highlighting certain factors about the play, that would otherwise go unnoticed. After establishing the family and their home life, Miller then introduces to us Bernard in act one page 24 "Bernard enters in knickers. He is younger than Biff, earnest and loyal, a worried boy". Bernard is Charley's son, an academic child who works hard at school and tries to influence biff into doing the same "Biff, where are you? You're supposed to study with me today" (pg25), " you won't graduate" (pg25). Willy's immediate reaction is to mock Bernard showing that perhaps Willy doesn't place much emphasis on the value of education "what're you looking so anaemic about?" ...read more.


this is important as Bernard now carries his own sports equipment as opposed Biffs. On page 71 Willy is heard getting off the elevator and heading towards Charley's office. Bernard and Willy's new relationship is presented to us in a conversation in Charley's office. Bernard, now an accomplished lawyer is going to fight an important case in Washington, and is staying with friends who own their own tennis court "I'm going to Washington in a minute", "I'm staying with a friend who has a court" (pg72). Willy falsely welcomes Bernard's success and replies, " His own tennis court, must be fine people, I bet" (pg72). Bernard feels uncomfortable in the presence of Willy's admiration and so changes the subject "very nice, dad tells me Biffs in town" (pg72). Willy realises Biff is not doing anything commendable and so again changes the subject "well he's been doing very big things in the west", "did I hear your wife had a boy" (pg72). ...read more.


As well as being a friend to Willy, Charley is also a father, and can therefore be used as a comparison to Willy's fathering skills. On hearing of Bernard's success on page 72, Willy then asks Charley "you never told him what to do, did you? ", "you never took any interest in him" (pg75). To which Charley replies "my salvation is that I never took any interest in anything". This is the point where Willy's failure and Charley's success as a father becomes apparent. This is one of the reasons for Charley's presence in the play. However, the other reason for Charley's presence in the play is far more controversial. It comes on page 76 where Charley agrees to pay Willy's insurance for him "Here, pay your insurance", Charley again shouts to Willy as he is leaving "and pay your insurance", " did you hear what I said". It doesn't become clear till the end of the play when Willly dies that Charley, paying off Willy's insurance is indeed symbolic to his death and in fact the main contribution Charley gives Death of a salesman. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Aldous Huxley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Aldous Huxley essays

  1. Biff (of his father): He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Discuss Biff's ...

    He dreams of achieving the same popularity as those he idolises. Willy speaks of Dave Singleman as a legend who "when he died, hundreds of salesman and buyers were at his funeral." Singleman embodies Willy's dream and is the reason Willy continues with his job as a salesman.

  2. Character Analysis - Willy Loman

    He describes it as if it is a sport, which emphasizes his disrespect for women. However Happy is shown to respect Linda. Happy treats women as a part of business and a mark of success. When Happy says, "you're well like Biff" he sounds very much like Willy.

  1. Quotes from All My Sons

    Father or no father"p117 Colloquial Abandons her father and believes Joe with little evidence "I'll do nothing about Joe" p164 Sacrifices Steve being exonerated for her future happiness Ann and George "You're coming with me"p144 He is prepared to

  2. To What Extent Does Death of a Salesman deal with modern issues such as ...

    This procrastination from facing the truth is proven to be a major problem in contribution to Willy's eventual failure, as it leads to his complete mental deterioration. We learn from Linda that when Biff writes home to say he'll

  1. An Analysis of the Dramatic Impact of the Restaurant Scene in Death of a ...

    So, before I get on to the scene with The Woman, I want to explain this. First of all, as Willy has encountered Howard, Bernard and Charley, and has seen their success, his dreams are seriously dented. His illusions and constructed reality is falling apart.

  2. Death of a Salesman. 'Explore the relationship between Willy and his sons'

    Miller labours the issue of modernity killing humanity, to the point that Willy has tried unsuccessfully in the past to commit suicide by using modern appliances, eventually driving off and to kill himself in the car. Willy has come to a point that he feels he is worth more dead

  1. Is Biff the True Hero of Death of a Salesman?

    We can see early on in the play a sadness in Biff, Willy's first born, due to his father mocking him and a sense that Biff holds something painful, and although there is a desire in Biff to please his father, it seems that Biff is locked in emotional dissonance

  2. Death of a Salesman. The effect of Millers presentation of Linda helps to carry ...

    Even though Willy is not a typical Aristotelian tragic hero there is still an element and influence of his theories present in the play. The distinct cathartic power of the play demonstrates just how much Aristotle's Poetics influenced Arthur Miller and the playwrights of the modern day.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work