It can be said that the play, Death of a salesman is all about Willy Loman. Everything else revolves around his life and actions within the last 24 hours of his life. All the characters always seem to be acting in response to him. His character, motivations, emotions, and destiny are all brought up through how he interacts with others. However, the issue arises because his reaction is towards the characters existing at the present while at the same time responding to the characters in the past within different scenarios. These results are highly contradictory behavior. The physical description of Willy Loman is that of a man who is constantly angry and even obsessive.
A Summary About Willy Loman
Willy is a person who craves for attention, and he is constantly ruled by the desire to succeed; which coincides with the American dream. All the time, he refers to his elder brother Ben, who became very wealthy as a diamond trader in Africa. He embodies all the things that will have ever desired for himself and his children.
Due to his circumstances, he is forced to work for Howard, who is the son of his former boss. Howard fails to appreciate him for the efforts he has made in the company for all those years.
On the other hand, his brother Ben, left his mother country to explore Africa and America working for himself. After four years in the wilderness, ben becomes very rich at 21 years of age. However, Willy still has to struggle in convincing Howard to retain his employment after 34 years of hard work.
Understanding the Good Qualities of Willy Loman
Though most of the scenes depict Willy as the villain, there are some positive qualities about him. For one, he believes hard work. Throughout the 34 years working for Howard, he did all he could to ensure that his missions were a success. For another, he is an ambitious man whose motivation is to emulate the success of his elder brother. He also believes in a certain course or philosophy and sticks to it. Groupthink or trends do not easily sway him. This can at times be a positive attribute in someone.
How to Analyse the Failure of Willy Loman
To understand how Loman was a general failure, you need first to take a look at his memories. He painstakingly chooses memories or even recreates past events to formulate successful situations or to give an excuse for his current lack of success.
Scoping the Flaws of Willy Loman
For one, he is somebody who is unapologetic. He never admits his mistake. At one time, he proudly remembers Biff’s final football match since it is less painful to create a past in which his son adored him, rather than facing the present whereby he is at loggerheads with his son Biff.
The relationship between Willy Loman and his sons is not honest. He raised them with ideas that he did not follow. He also cannot accept the truth and deal with it. He tries to play the modern tragic hero even when it is obvious to all that he is a failure. This even causes his suicide act.
He is also an envious person as he secretly hated Charlie’s success.
Death of a Salesman Characters: