A common idea presented in literature is the issue ofthe freedom of the individual in opposition to thecontrolling pressures of society. Willy Loman, the maincharacter in Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller,epitomizes this type of person; one who looks to his peersand co-salesman as lesser individuals. Not only was hecompetitive and overbearing, but Willy Loman sought after anideal that he could never become: the greatest salesmanever. Determined to make money, Willy became uncontrollableand somewhat insane. Through his dialogue and actions,Willy Loman portrays a character of insecurity, persistence,and unknown identity.
From the very beginning of his life, Willy Lomanexperienced problems with his popularity and personality. His last name is a pun on a “low man.” He is at the bottomof the business world as an unsuccessful salesman. Inaddition, his theories on life and society prove to be verydegrading, not to mention influential to his mind set everyday. Willy believes that being well-liked and having apersonal attractiveness, together, can bring success, money,and many friends.
Ironically, Willy does not have manyfriends and many people do not like him. With a beautyunlike others, Willy thinks that doors will open andproblems will all disappear.
As a salesman, Willy developed many hindrances thatcaused his mind to deteriorate. His life as a salesman wasbuilt on a dream that he witnessed as a child. At an earlyage, Willy heard of a salesman, Dave Singleman, who couldmake his living out of a hotel room. Singleman was verysuccessful and when he died, people from all over thecountry came to his funeral. It was this ideal that WillyLoman sought after. All he ever wanted was fame,popularity, and a few friends. Unfortunately, when Willydied, not a single person went to his funeral. His life,one that was spent trying to become another person, namelyDave Singleman, was a waste as no-one even wanted to see himburied.
In reflection of his career with the Wagner Company,many other problems arose that forced economic difficultieson him and his family. He was determined to live by idealsthat placed him above everyone else. It was with these liesand illusions that Willy’s life began to lose its’ air ofreality. He lost his identity, courage, and dignitythroughout New England as a salesman. And as he explainedoften, “I have friends…They know me up and down NewEngland.” Realistically, though, Willy was not successful. He did not have friends and people did not like him in NewEngland. “With his self-identity weakened and undermined, Willylost his grasp of things in general.” (P.P Sharma, criticalanalysis) He spent hours on hours dreaming of the past. Thinking of himself and his son Biff who had potential, butdid not take advantage of it. Biff was Willy’s inspirationas a father. He had the determination to become a greatfootball player, not to mention make something with his lifeand the Loman name. However, Biff flunked math and threwall of his opportunities away. It was with thesecircumstances that Biff and his father began to separate. Willy always promised his sons prosperity and good-fortune,but he could not give that to him and when he lost Biff, hislife became an even larger failure. In other memories and illusions, Willy often replaysthe moments with his brother, Ben. Specifically, the timewhen Willy was offered a job in Alaska; the job which wouldhave made him an enormous amount of money haunts Willy everytime he tries to sell his Wagner stockings, only to have hissales come up lame. With low sales and age, Willy decidedto ask for a job in New York. And it was at this time thathis company decided to stop paying by salary, but solely oncommission. And for a man who cannot sell well, the loss ofa salary is very detrimental to his well-being. “AlthoughWilly is aware, maybe dimly and imperfectly, that he is notcut out for success in the world of trade and commerce, henevertheless nurses the dream of getting the better ofeverybody else. And this leads him into an alienation fromhimself, obscuring his real identity.” (P. P. Sharma,critical analysis)Willy’s life would have been more satisfying had heengaged himself in more physical work that would occupy hismind. His life was situated on a dream for success andprosperity. When it never arrived, Willy spent a lot oftime, just brainstorming how to make his life what he wantedit to be. Putting his family aside, Willy committed aterrible sin. In Boston, during one of his business trips,Willy cheated on his wife. He met a woman who would be verycheap for an evening, and as a boost of confidence, Willyspent the night with this low-class woman. Unfortunately,his son Biff, who was surprising his father in Boston,walked in on the two, thus causing a situation that wouldforever haunt Biff. His thoughts of his father as aninfluential salesman in New England were all lost. Whatappeared, instead, was the belief that his father was aloser with no potential to ever support his family. It wasat this time that they their lives spread apart.
Using that situation as a downfall and the many othersthat occurred in Willy Loman’s life, it was not surprisingwhen he killed himself. In search of happiness, Willybelieved that he could give his family what they wanted ifhe only left the world. But, his dreams were wrong, as hisfamily did not even care enough to go to his funeral. Hedied for things that he had lived for- his sons andillusions of prosperity. Ironically, though, his life wasnot worth the happiness of his son’s. And his life wasdefinitely not worth the sacrifice that he made for them hisentire life.
Willy Loman died still unsure of his status in thebusiness world. He wanted success and money, but at the ageof sixty-one, he realized that these goals would never bereached. His identity was lost and his presence on earthunknown. Willy Loman was influenced by society in that hecould not overcome the pressures of selling and makingmoney. His life long dream was happiness, but that nevercame either. The pressures of society killed a man who oncehad courage and determination. But, as his life movedfurther, Willy Loman lost his ability to see the worldclearly. All his eyes could observe was despair andinsecurity. It was through his beliefs that he decided toend his unhappiness, by ending his life. Willy Loman died alost identity, but one that found himself for a brief periodof time; long enough to end his life forever. ————————————————————–
Cite this Willy Loman: A Man With A Dream
Willy Loman: A Man With A Dream. (2019, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/willy-loman-a-man-with-a-dream/