The role of Willy Loman in Arthur Millers play Death of a salesman

Essay Topic:

The reasons Willy had of the ill-version of the American Dream.

Essay Questions:

What is the role of the American Dream in the life of Willy Loman?

How important is being likable for earning enough for the family?

What changes does the death of Arthur Miller being to the life of the characters?

Thesis Statement:

Willy Loman is a very important character for Death of a salesman as he lives in two different worlds: the real world and the world of his American Dream.


Introduction:  Willy Loman is the central character of Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a salesman”. His personality is very interesting for the reader as it if full of conflicts and his perception of life that has nothing to do with the reality. He lives in two different worlds: the real world and the world of his American Dream.

Willy Loman is a global symbolic character and one of the most outstanding characters in this tragic story. He is remarkable not only because he makes the reader feel compassion for him but also he is also the brightest revelation of the capitalistic society. With all his heart Willy believes in the American Dream. He believes that if a man works at his best and according the rule and is liked by the people than he will be successful in life. Arthur Miller shows how the life of Willy Loman turned out to be a tragic farce. Willy does not even understand that he is deceiving himself till the moment of his suicide at the end of the play.

Willy’s responsiveness scares people and therefore he fails to sell something. He also has a secret of keeping a mistress with whom he travels around. Only his death for insurance helps him to overcome the illusion he had and finally allows him to compensate the harm he has caused for him family. The “Death of the salesman” is free of the limitations of one reality as Willy finds himself living in two realities at the same time. The reader is forced into the world of Willy illusions and visions.

Arthur Miller breaks the readers’ expectations about the end of the play and makes the reader loose the perception of time. It is only after Willy’s death that the reader actually wakes up from a vision that Arthur Miller has successfully created.

Conclusion:  Willy Loman indeed lives in two worlds as he is completely concentrated on his desire to achieve the American Dream and be happy. As he believes that being “likable” will lead him to success he fails to become an effective businessman and earn enough for his family. Willy is unable to life in two worlds at the same time and this eventually results in a psychological breakdown and his suicide.


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