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

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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.

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