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

Death Of A Salesman - Willy Loman - Villain, Victim or hero. What is your view?

Extracts from this document...


GCSE: ENGLISH LITERATURE Unit 3: Coursework Arthur Miller (1915- ) Death Of A Salesman Willy Loman - Villain, Victim or hero. What is your view? Willy is a common man. He isn't anything special, nor ever was he. He chose to follow the American dream and he chose to lead the life it gave him. Willy made the American dream his culture, and the American dream made Willy its victim. The American dream is the belief that through sheer hard work alone, any man can gain professional success and thus receive personal gain (wealth, name goods etc.). Failure to fulfil the American dream, is failure in life. Willy Loman is stuck in a vicious cycle brought on by the American dream. He cannot bring himself to admit that he has failed as a salesman due to his self-pride; therefore he must keep trying to succeed. The problem is, that he will never succeed as a businessman, as he doesn't understand how business works. Willy Loman believes that in order to be a successful man in the business world, you need contacts: "Be liked and you will never want." Dave Singleman was a man who Willy met when he was young. Dave Singleman was the man who inspired Willy to become a salesman. Dave was eighty-four when Willy met him, and he was still working, but from a hotel where he was staying. ...read more.


He has come to New York to beg for 'forty dollars a week', but despite this, Willy feels he needs to buy a brand good that is more than three times his income per week. The importance of commodities is revealed in Willy's mentioning of his car, both in the past and present, the refrigerator, and the house itself. Willy maintains this belief until the very end, when he says "Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?" When it comes right down to it, it's all about the money and the brand goods you can buy with it. A man who cannot provide the latest goods for his family is deemed a failure. Willy Loman can also be seen as the Villain of this play. Willy often lies to his sons about his lifestyle. Throughout this novel there is evidence that Willy is using his children as a method of bolstering his ego. He tells the boys a "secret" insisting they must not "breathe it to a soul". He continues to describe the pure fantasy of him having his "own business". Willy's need for his dream to remain a "secret" suggests he does not wish to appear foolish and that in order to fuel his constant need for praise he turns to his children for admiration and to bolster his ego. ...read more.


Willy comprehends that he has been denying his son of the dream that he wishes to achieve, and out of pure love kills himself, giving his life insurance to his family, and completes the dream of being wealthy, hoping that by completing the false dream will free his sons of the burden to finish it for him, allowing them to create their own dreams, and then follow them with the money that Willy leaves behind. According to Miller, it is this readiness to lay down his life to secure his dream that makes Willy a tragic yet heroic figure and one to whom, in Linda's words, 'attention must be finally paid'. In conclusion, I believe that due to the lack of reasons, Willy Loman cannot be seen as the hero of this play. Willy can be easily seen as the villain of this play, as he imparts the wrong values on his sons, and his affair with 'the woman.' Willy can even be seen as the victim in this play, as he is an average American, who has been victimised by the American dream, and capitalism. In my opinion, Willy Loman is the victim of this play. Arthur Miller wrote this play, so that people would appreciate those who have failed to achieve their dream in life. Willy Loman is indeed a "low man", but nevertheless, 'he is a human being and he deserves respect.' ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Death of a Salesman 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 GCSE Death of a Salesman essays

  1. Death of a Salesman - plot summary

    Biff is crushed when Biff finds out that Willy is having an affair with the woman. Biff gets very upset about the woman "Don't touch me, you - liar!" then just after he also says "You fake! You phony little fake!"

  2. Willy Loman as a Father

    Convinced that this method is the best solution, Happy assimilates his father's poor perspective on the world, and in the end he realizes that he is truly not happy. Happy lives his entire life in a way that he believes will bring him attention from his father, yet he becomes more miserable than before.

  1. Death Of A Salesman.

    as someone who is much more important than what he is, Biff challenges him at this and Happy says, "Well, I'm practically-." Happy has bad business values and sleeps with the girlfriends of his employers. Willy has always rejected Happy; in one of the flashbacks Willy has, Happy says, "I'm losing weight, you notice, Pop?"

  2. In what way do Charley and Willy differ as fathers?

    He raised his son the way he thought was right and didn't put his expectations high for him. He let his son be himself. Willy and Charley differ a lot as fathers and as husbands or just friends. Charley has lost of good qualities and it seems that his friendship for Willy has no limits.

  1. Death of a Salesman

    Willy tries to explain the situation, but Biff won't listen. He accuses Willy of giving away Linda's stockings and calls him a liar and a fake. Willy is then brought out of his illusion by the waiter at the restaurant.

  2. The pursuit of material wealth leads to emotional disaster. How far is this ...

    The fact that he met the woman and began an affair whilst working (in pursuit of material wealth) is perhaps evidence that his work life led to him almost wrecking his marriage (emotional disaster). Willy has a volatile relationship with both of his sons, perhaps more so with his oldest son, Biff, whom Willy had very high hopes for.

  1. Betrayed or Betrayer? Discuss theses two aspects of Willy Loman's character and comment on ...

    And for the vacuum cleaner there's three and a half...Then the roof, you got twenty-one dollars remaining.' The language use in this play reflects the fast growing consumer society. There are references made to brand names' Chevy' 'Studebaker' and a 'Hastings refrigerator' and advertising slogans such as, 'coffee, meal in it self'.

  2. Character study of Willy Loman.

    "Charley: Why don't you want to work for me? Willy: What's the matter with you? I've got a job. Charley: Then what're you walkin' in here every week for? Willy: Well, if you don't want me to walk in here- Charley: I am offering you a job Willy: I don't want your goddam job!

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