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December 01, 2005

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

WILLY: Biff is a lazy bum!”

WILLY: Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such – personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff – he’s not lazy.”

Although Willy’s life is a waste, he still has high hopes that he’ll one day be rich – an influence from the “American dream” and Depression era. He sets a poor example for his sons with his unrealistic goals. Willy is also stubborn and does not deal with life obstacles. He cannot let go of his job and his behavior is an embarrassment to his company. He is not well liked – no one will even show up to his funeral.

His sons follow his example. Willy doesn’t think he needs to work his way to the top, and Biff thinks he can just steal to make a living. These traits negatively impact Biff and Happy. Willy, Biff, and Happy all seem to have a case of arrested development.

Biff and Happy exist in a perpetual state of youth. Their conversations and even their names are childish. They’re also staying in their old bedrooms. Biff cannot handle being ignored, so he steals a pen. Biff exhibits self-destructive behavior in his ruining of his job opportunities.

Happy has a steady job, but still behaves immaturely. He doesn’t think he should work below people whom he is physically superior. Willy also prefers physical dominance and he defines a man as someone who can handle tools, even though he never uses them in his own job. That statement is also a way for him to flaunt something that Charley can’t do. Willy constantly tries to give advice to Charley in order to make himself feel superior. In reality, it is a demonstration of his jealousy.

LINDA: He was crestfallen, Willy. You know how he admires you. I think if he finds himself, then you’ll both be happier and not fight any more.”

Linda is the peacemaker. She also manages the finances and has to encourage Willy everyday in order for them to pay their bills. For a man who is big on success, Willy always comes home disheartened. She has become so use to encouraging him that she is blind to his faults, and only reinforces his delusions.

Willy criticizes Linda to make himself feel better. He has an ideal perception of the world and has altered his reality to fit it. Linda also has an idealized past but she has learned to move on. She has her own regrets, but gives them up and instead, focuses on supporting her husband and sons.

Posted by Kayla Sawyer at December 1, 2005 05:38 PM


This has nothing to do with the great Art Miller and the lovely Miss Monroe - but this Christmas tree is psychadelic, and I LOVE IT!!!!

Posted by: Katie Aikins at December 2, 2005 12:18 PM

Miss Kayla,

Do you believe Willy is a tragic victim? A tragic hero? Or just a mess? I'm gathering much hostility toward Willy; is he but a dinosaur in a changing world. What is your preception of this?


Posted by: KatieAikins at December 3, 2005 03:37 PM

Tragic hero, I suppose. He's relatable. His stubbornness and refusal to change was his tragic flaw.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at December 3, 2005 04:46 PM

I don't think Willy is easy to relate to. To a certain extent I feel bad for him, but I think he very much has himself to blame for his situation. He seems to have been disillusioned his whole life about the ways things are. He also seems to have some of his priorities messed up and he doesn't encourage his boys to be the best that he can be. You already read my blog about how Willy thinks it is ok for Biff to cheat on his schoolwork. That is the sort of thing that makes me feel the same way as Katie towards Willy. Not quite hostility...I think that is a bit of a strong word. But, I really don't like him all that much.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at December 4, 2005 03:05 PM

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