Monday, April 16, 2012

Essay on Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”

Essay on Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”

Arthur Miller in the play “Death of the Salesman” depicted the main character Willy Loman not as the tragic hero, but as the victim of false striving to “American Dream”.

Willy Loman was not an outstanding person; however, his character is deep in the obsession the obtrusive idea.

To define whether Willy Loman was round or flat character, it is essential to differentiate between those two notions. Round characters are those who are very realistic and complex in their nature, they are usually deep personalities and can equally have good and bad traits of character. Round characters are usually main characters and their mental emotional experiences are developed through the story. Flat characters are those who lack realistic personality. Such characters are stereotypical ones and their personalities are not developed through the story and remain the same. So, it becomes clear that Willy Lowman was the round character.

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Willy Lowman was the person of the middle class, who appeared to be the victim of the society, which played against him. This is how he is described by the person who knew him the best, and probably knew his real nature: “Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived”. Being a victim, he was constantly suppressing himself and his family in false pride and lies. Willy never noticed his personal ignorance, he was insecure and self-deluded person. He believed with all his heart and soul in the idea of the American Dream, in the fact that he could easily gain a lot of money and achieve success, although he never achieved it. He was distinguishing between his dreams and the reality that was around, and when the reality started pushing on him, it hurt severely his mental health. The main conflict of the play is centered on the tremendous tensions of the Willy’s disparity and his social obligations. Willy to some extent is also the tragic hero, as he didn’t achieve self-knowledge and self-realization, even though he achieved the professional understanding of himself and comprehended the sales profession fundamentals. The problem is that he didn’t realize his failure as the person and how he betrayed his own soul and family trying to achieve illusive heights. He was not able to understand himself and he was not listening to the voice of his heart. He appeared to fail the opportunity to perceive the real spiritual, personal and emotional understanding of his personality. He was blinded by his artificially created dream and his mind was too blurred to recognize that. The peak of his “blindness” is his inability to understand that his family loved him very much, and it is the real tragedy of life.

Even though Willy failed in fulfilling of the American Dream, he made the extreme sacrifice in deciding to leave his inheritance to provide the opportunity to his son Biff to end the business of his life. Willy and Biff appear to be two central characters of the play; they are the most developed by the author in their experiences. They had conflicting relationships, which define the family and economic struggle though their dialogues.

Willy’s suicide turns to be the peak of his moral struggle primarily with himself. I think that it was the revelation for him, as he finally received the relief and was set free from the chains of the American Dream. Willy’s death was also opened Biff’s eyes upon the dream of his entire father’s life and he finally comprehends the real Willy: “He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong…He never knew who he was.” And in these words there is a deep grief with the acceptance of the destiny. Biff finally understood that material values are not worth to be pursued, and the main objective in each person’s life should be the attempt to understand who he is and what his real predestination at the Earth is.

Willy Loman believed strongly in the idea of the American dream. He was sure that without significant efforts it was possible to get everything he would desire- success and wealth. The fact is that he ever got anything and lived in illusions. Willy’s obsession with “easy” money subsequently led to his psychological and inability to understand what is dream and what is the reality. His disparity was gathering like a snowball and finally led to his suicide.
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