Death of a salesman character analysis

Essay Topic:

The significant way the characters of Arthur Millers Death of a salesman relate to each other and influence each others lives.

Essay Questions:

Who may be truly considered to be the central character of the play?

Where does Willys insanity come from?

Why are the relations between Willy and Biff so complicated?

Thesis Statement:

The characters of Arthur Millers Death of a salesman reveal the life Brooklyn back in 1940s.


Introduction: Arthur Miller’s “Death of a salesman” is an extraordinary play from many perspectives. The way it is written makes the reader fully “jump in” the life of the Loman family feeling a member of this historical period. The author leaves the reader with no space to have a though of his own but simply observe the events and make a conclusion about them at the end breathing out.

Willy Loman – is the tragic hero of the play. Being salesman did not lead him to the realization of his dreams and expectations in life. He finds himself tired of this job but unable to find a way for pay the bills. As a salesman throughout his whole life he considers the trait of being liked by other people to one of the most important qualities in life a man can have. Willy thinks if he was more “likable” he would have been more successful in his profession and would achieve much more in his life. Willy denies the present so strongly that his mind creates time-traps for him. He confuses the past and the present. Willy Loman realized that his life is a failure and his family is not the one he wanted to have and commits suicide. As Willy realizes the fact that his whole life has been a self-deception and a delusion he sees no other way out.

Biff Loman – is Willy’s son and the character who does not suffer from his misery and the reality of his life. He simply accepts the class he belongs to and the future that he can possibly have. Nevertheless Biff also faces disillusionment throughout the novel as he reveals the fact that his father has a mistress. It becomes the breaking point for him to stop trying satisfying his father’s expectations and frees him to be himself.

Happy Loman – is a young man of a complicated character. As throughout his whole life he has been the number two child in the family he has learned that no one expects anything from his. He is truly a son of his father, pretending to be someone more important that he truly is living the day full of lies. Happy is not to escape this way of life like his brother Biff.

Linda Loman – is Willy’s wife who sets herself free when Willy commits suicide. Linda’s conflicts are obvious as she stays Willy’s wife while her internal emotional life is unseen to the rest of the family. She is the one who expects Willy to commit suicide.

Ben – is Willy brother who once asked him to join him on his trip to Alaska and then became rich.

Charley – is Willy’s neighbor who loans Willy money to pay the bills.

Conclusion: The characters of Arthur Miller’s “Death of the salesman” seek the American Dream but cannot reach it as they are doomed to live the way they do. As Willy is unable to admit that he has not become even close to the man he wanted to be and his inability to accept reality causes a deep conflict which results eventually in his death.


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