death of a character

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Ngày đăng: 21/03/2014, 22:00

Essay looks at the character of Willy Loman. How Willy's low self worth, misplaced societalvalues, and his stubborn inability to change leads him through his life pretending to be moreimportant, more liked, and more successful than he really is. This ultimately leads to his demise.Death of a CharacterIn Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman the reader is introduced to the main character ofWilly Loman. Willy is a middle-class salesman who, in the course of a single day, comes torealize that the American Dream, which he has pursued for 40 years, has failed him. Willy'spursuit of success has affected not only his self worth, but has also dominated the lives of his wifeLinda and his sons Biff and Happy. Willy's low self worth, misplaced societal values, and hisstubborn inability to change leads him through his life pretending to be more important, moreliked, and more successful than he really is. Ultimately this vision he has leads him to his deaththinking that he will actually be helping his family.Willy's low self worth is not talked about much in the story, but rather more implied throughseveral conversations with his wife. I do not believe that Willy is even aware of the low self worthhe has. While talking with his wife and bother Ben, he says little things like "I'm not noticed"(1470), "I'm fat. I'm very foolish to look at." (1471) and "I still feel - kind of temporary." (1478). He compensates for this by talking about how important he thinks he is. "Go to Filene's, go to theHub, go to Slattery's, Boston. Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens!" (1483) Hislow self worth and then compensation for that is one of the factors that lead to his demise when heis faced with reality of this.Willy is an ordinary man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the false valuesof the society he has put his faith in. He understands society places great value on success and cannot see that society also has a way of placing it's values in front of people that are very hard orimpossible to obtain. He is chasing an 'American Dream' that is ultimately a false dream. Societyhas told him to be successful you need to have a certain amount of material goods. Willy placeshigh value in having brand name items in his home. He doesn't see that he would be a success justby being a good father and husband. For Willy, his brother, Ben, and his salesman hero, DaveSingleman, are images of success. However, the character of Ben is far-fetched and theachievements of Dave are idealized and exaggerated. Willy sees them and what he thinks theyhave accomplished and sets this as the standard he must meet. By doing this he can never achievethe success he so desperately wants. Willy's vision of the 'American Dream' and what society hastold him he must live up to are just another means to his end destruction.Willy also has a stubborn streak in him that makes it all but impossible for him to see things fromanother person's view. He goes on pretending to be a success and pretending that he is earningmore money than he actually does. Charley offers him a job on several occasions but Willy letshis stubborn pride get in his way and refuses the job offers, even after he has been fired."Charley: I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars a week. And I won't send you on theroad.Willy" I've got a job.Charley: Without pay? What kind of a job is a job without pay? Now, look, kid, enough isenough. I'm no genius but I know when I'm being insulted.Willy: Insulted!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. " (1500)He lets his stubbornness and pride get the best of him and just pretends that he still has a job. This is another element that leads to his destruction. Without a job and borrowing money, he endsup realizing that his life is worth more dead than it is alive.Willy Loman is a man who let society's pressures and visions guide him through life andultimately kept him from being all the things he wanted most. He desperately wanted to be wellknown, liked and successful. At the end of the play we find that he traveled paths that were set upby his low self worth, societal values and his own stubbornness and ultimately led him to take hislife, thinking that the insurance money would help his son.Works CitedMiller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 6thed.Ed. Leah Jewell. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001. 177-190. . moreimportant, more liked, and more successful than he really is. This ultimately leads to his demise. Death of a Character In Arthur Miller's play, Death of. placing it's values in front of people that are very hard orimpossible to obtain. He is chasing an 'American Dream' that is ultimately a
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